Wednesday, March 31, 2010

the road not taken

The Chalkboard Manifesto

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Wednesday in Holy Week I

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday in Holy Week II

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.

Tuesday in Holy Week I

" 'While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’ " - John 12.36

I want to walk as a child of the Light
I want to follow Jesus

God set the stars to give light to the world
The Star of my life is Jesus.


In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The lamb is the Light of the city of God
Shine in my heart Lord Jesus.

I want to see the Brightness of God
I want to look at Jesus
Clear Son of righteousness shine on my path
And show me the way to the Father.


I'm looking for the coming of Christ
I want to be with Jesus

When we have run, with patience, the race
We shall know the joy of Jesus.

Brad's Umbrella

Sort of like a camoflouge parasol.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

What Holy Week is NOT All About

I had to repost this. I laughed too hard not to. h/t Fr. Scott.

Monday of Holy Week II

Almighty God, whose 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 that 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.

Monday of Holy Week I

I had to acolyte at Eucharist today, and it was very good. Very brief homily, we sang, and Cathy and I had smooth sailing. One of the things that has always impressed me about people, from the time I was wee, was if they had hymns committed to memory. This could be people at Live Oak Baptist Church or Bishop Duncan singing "For All the Saints" at a funeral. I just find it fascinating, I think in part because memorization is not something I'm usually good at although over tiem I memorizes things from hearing or saying them over and over again.

Today one of the oblation bearers was a retired priest who is doing her STM. As the gifts approached the altar the organ finished it's verse run through and the offertory hymn started. It's below. She started singing just from memory. I hope that when I've been in The Episcopal Church to the point of retirement I have a good number of good, solid, theological texts committed to my memory

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that man to judge thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee:
I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
for our atonement, while we nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Eucharistic Prayer A

I've been pretty clear the last few years that I prefer Eucharistic Prayer D. Eucharistic Prayer A is usually my least favorite, but being at General Seminary has changed that a little bit. Hearing it with some frequency on Sunday mornings in college was one things. Hearing it multiple days a week does something entirely different. The liturgy is doing what it's supposed to do. What we pray we believe. The prayer book shapes my worldview (from baptism to burial), and its lines frequently make their way into conversation. Over the last few months as I've gotten so much more familiar with the words of Eucharistic Prayer A, it's come to mean a lot more to me. I'm able to say it in my head and just reflect on the words without having to necessarily think about what they are themselves. They're getting out of the way of their message. So, here you have it, with the Preface of Holy Week, bold for emphasis, not people's parts:

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. For our sins he was lifted high upon the cross, that he might draw the whole world to himself; and, by his suffering and death, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who put their trust in him. Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself, and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.

On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you
and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me."

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully
receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ: By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.

The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

Yesterday was a really good Passion Sunday for me. This has been one of my best Lents, I think. I've had lots of time to reflect, and things strike me here and there. Yesterday I went to St. Paul's Chapel/Trinity Church Wall St. I walked down broadway singing Hosannas, carrying a sign that someone had painted. Then I stood and sat next to Ben, James, and Keith (with Terry behind us) as we sang songs at Trinity and parts of the Passion narrative.

Yesterday afternoon I rested and went to Chapel. During the distribution yesterday we sang "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?" and it was just good. The emotion in that song is so real and present to me. I think yesterday it was aided by Marcia and Cristina's soaring voices, but there was also the memory of the RMN demonstration on the floor of General Conference and my not being there with my friends.

This week I'm going to be posting songs a la Fr. Scott. I might be posting other things. THe weather thus far this week is encouraging me to not be too pleased, but to walk this road to Jerusalem.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Witness on the Plenary Floor from Reconciling Ministries Network on Vimeo.

No Ties

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Saturday, March 27, 2010


I should be writing about demons right now for Church History, but this son just came on my iPod and I thought with Holy Week approaching, and tomorrow being Passion Sunday, this was appropriate. Do we answer the calls in our lives? Following God leads to a some boards and nails...and sometimes to seminary. This was the best tempo recording of it I could find. I actually like it a little lighter and airier. Parts I like especially much bolded....this might turn into a series of reflective posts as my first year in seminary ends.

The Summons
1. Will you come and follow me
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know
And never be the same?

Will you let my love be shown,
Will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown
In you and you in me?

2. Will you leave yourself behind
If I but call your name?

Will you care for cruel and kind
And never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare
Should your life attract or scare?

Will you let me answer prayer
In you and you in me?

3. Will you let the blinded see
If I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free
And never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean
And do such as this unseen,
And admit to what I mean
In you and you me?

4. Will you love the 'you' you hide
If I but call your name?

Will you quell the fear inside
And never be the same?

Will you use the faith you've found
To reshape the world around,
Through my sight and touch and sound
In you and you in me?

5. Lord, your summons echoes true
When you but call my name
Let me turn and follow you
And never be the same
In your company I'll go
Where your love and footsteps show
Thus I'll move and live and grow
In you and you in me


I just had a flashback although it was really more deja vu, except I REALLY have done this before, countless times. It makes me miss one of my passions through high school. I'm sitting on my bed, crossed legged with my computer in front of me. I'm barefooted wearing a t-shirt and black shorts. I push my computer away, grab my socks in my left hand to sort them out.

Blam! "You haven't done this in over a year. It's really familiar though." It probably has been a year since I refereed my last game. (That reminds me, I need to get a whistle out.) I'm not reffing today. I'm coaching the General Seminary soccer team. First practice is today, and this is a whole new angle to the beautiful game. I think I'm horribly unprepared, but when that's the case in soccer, you just run. :)

I'm looking up coaching aids right now. I don't really know what I need to be doing this time around, but it's supposed to last for two hours. Oy! I haven't played since the 8th grade. The only soccer shorts I own are referee shorts. I don't have cleats in New York. I'm about to don my black socks with three white stripes at the top. It feels weird not being headed to a complex. My USSF certification expired on 31 DEC. I'll reactivate for the 2011 calendar year.

I miss refereeing. I miss soccer.

Did You Know?

h/t to The Lead


WE're going to try this tomorrow night in procession.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pray for the Church

Grandmère Mimi keeps us updated on sex-scandals in the Roman church. As I read more and more headlines, I hurt for victims whose abusers have yet to face justice, and I pray for the church, for its wounds and its broken system that perpetuates hurting itself and others.

Today she linked us to a HuffPo article which concludes:

I wish the higher-ups could educate these girls without thinking about what methods the two women back at home use to trigger their orgasms. Their decision to the contrary smells of an obsession with homosexuality.

If that's not what this is about, then the Catholic Church should apply this Denver principle to others who violate its sexual doctrines. Do America's Catholic schools harbor any children whose parents had sex before marriage? Who use birth control? Who encourage their older children to use birth control? Who got divorced and remarried, or who married a divorced person?

Ban all their children. Then the bishops can sell the vacant schools to pay off the judgments in lawsuits by people who were molested by priests.

Be sure to read it all. And keep your eyes on Mimi. She has good stuff, and a lot of content.

No, You Can't

Watch it, tweet it, share it, favorite it, post it, blog it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Advice to Republicans

h/t to Andrew Sullivan

Russell King offers some here

Some topics include
- An invitation
- Hypocrisy
- Hyperbole
- History
- Hatred

Read it all.

Stabbed By Chicken

So, Mother Laura Toepfer turned me on to The Bloggess. I have to recommend, as does Mo. Laura, the entry "WTF, me?" Here's a preview:

I can barely even type this because my hand is all swollen but I was just putting Barnaby Jones to bed when he suddenly did this flip which almost broke my flipping-off finger and then he ran in between my legs and I fell so hard that I couldn’t even move and the dog was jumping on my head and I yelled for Victor and I was laying on my stomach and he was all...

I assure you, it's absolutely hysterical, as in made my sides hurt with laughter the first time I read it...and there have been updates since then that just add to it!

Read it all.

poco ritardando

The Chalkboard Manifesto

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Sorry that I've been posting a lot from Scott A. Gunn, the Blogger-in-Residence Rector at St. Google's, or rather Christ Church, Lincoln, RI, but he's got some good stuff on his page pretty frequently. These are my favorites from a recent post of his.

The Diocese of Rhode Island's Altar Guild has a blog. Yes. Not only do they have a blog, they update regularly and have been so doing for quite a while. Make sure you check out Rhode Island Altars. Not only do they blog regularly, have been doing it for a while, they also LABEL stuff. Check out the section on altar lace.

Fr. Scott points us to a Newsweek article from 1995 about why the internet will fail. Glad that's out there for reading 15 years later as I sit on the interwebs in my philosophy class having my mind stretched in a most delightful way. Blogging right now is a break from it to process some in the back of my head.

The final thing I'll share from Fr. Scott (who is a very funny guy, and good to go to emergent worship with at General Convention, but only if he wears clericools) is a video about what to expect if we try something new. About trying new things he says, "[T]he church seems unable to grasp a simple concept: sometimes we should try things just to see if they work. It’s really that simple."

Glasspool Gets Consents

If you haven't heard the news, the Rev. Cn. Mary Glasspool, suffragan bishop-elect of Los Angeles, has received the required consents from bishops and standing committees and will thus be ordained in May. Fr. Scott has a great response to the people who have issued negative statements to this effect. Here's a snippet:

If one is going to object to the ordination of GLBT persons, the basis must be on grounds other than a (fictitious) fixed tradition. Any casual reading of church history reveals a slow-moving stream in which the waters of tradition are constantly refreshed. The essentials of the faith that we teach (e.g. Christ’s resurrection or the power of the Holy Spirit) ought not to change, but the church has constantly and slowly revised its teaching on any number of second-order matters. Surely the AAC could admit this, as they seem to on the issue of divorce.

Read it all

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer

h/t to Fr. Scott


There will be a forthcoming entry with a little more thought on this shortly, but please read the following and submit your name.

Dear friends,
It's time to hold the Republican Party accountable.

You've probably heard about Tea Party members shouting "Nigger!" at Black Congressmen during a protest in Washington, D.C. last weekend. One of the protesters spat on Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, while another called openly gay Representative Barney Frank a "faggot" as the laughing crowd imitated his lisp.[1]

But Saturday was just the most recent example of the intolerance and hate coming from right-wing extremists this past year. At times it's been instigated by Republican leaders. When not, it's usually condoned and seen as part of a strategy to score politically. Either way, it's completely unacceptable and has to stop.

It's time to confront Republican leadership and force them to take responsibility for the atmosphere they've helped create. Please join me in signing ColorOfChange's petition confronting Republican leaders about hate and fear-mongering in their party, and ask your friends and family to do the same:

We're calling on RNC Chair Michael Steele, House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to publicly do two simple things:

- Unequivocally condemn bigotry and hate among their supporters, and make clear that those who embrace it have no place in their party.

- Make clear that they will not tolerate fear-mongering and coded appeals to racism from officials in the Republican party, at any level.

Republican leaders publicly denounced Saturday's ugly scene, but they failed to acknowledge that this is only the latest incident in a pattern of violent rhetoric, racially charged imagery, and paranoid conspiracy theories at Tea Party rallies.[2] Many Tea Partiers aren't simply about dissent -- they use fear and hatred to assault the very legitimacy of our elected leaders. It's the worst America has to offer. Despite this, Republican leaders court the Tea Party movement while methodically supporting, exacerbating and exploiting their fear and anger for cynical political ends.[3] This is nothing less than a betrayal of American values, and it's up to us to force the Republicans to stop aiding and abetting this enterprise:

The Tea Party movement has been marked by racially inflammatory and violent outbursts since its inception a year ago. GOP leaders are trying to pass off this weekend's assaults on Congressmen Lewis, Cleaver, Clyburn and Frank as isolated incidents. But when so-called "isolated incidents" crop up again and again, a pattern starts to emerge. The examples are numerous.

At rallies held to protest tax day last year, Tea Partiers carried signs that announced "Obama's Plan: White Slavery," "The American Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama's Oven," and "Guns Tomorrow!"[4] The Republican National Committee had endorsed the rallies, and RNC Chairman Michael Steele encouraged Tea Partiers to send a "virtual tea bag" to President Obama and Democratic Congressional leadership.[5] After reports of the fear-mongering signs surfaced, Steele did nothing to distance his party from the lunatic fringe. He has even gone so far as to say that if he didn't have his current position, he'd be "out there with the tea partiers."[6]

The Tea Party's venomous rhetoric picked up steam over the summer, when angry mobs flooded town hall meetings legislators had organized as sites for rational, civil debate on health care reform. After one meeting in Atlanta, a swastika was painted on the office of Congressman David Scott (D-GA), who had also received a flier addressed to "nigga David Scott."[7] Some protesters showed up at town hall meetings carrying guns, including at least one man who was armed at an event where the President was speaking.[8] Again, Republicans responded to these tactics with silence, doing nothing to denounce them.

Our country deserves better than this. No matter what party one supports, we should all take strong action to support civil, honest, and respectful public debate. Please join me in calling on Republican leaders to denounce racist rhetoric and fear-mongering, and reject it from their party. And when you do, please ask your family and friends to do the same:



4. See Reference 2

On Brainwashing

Apparently I've been brainwashed, by the "Jewish lobby" no less, because I prefer to date things CE and BCE. My objection is not to the Church dating things AD (certificates of ordination, letters from people, etc.), but I really don't think that objective historians )or people from other religions for that matter) should be dating things from an exclusively Christian perspective...unless, of course, they want to.

On Crooked Hearts

Go check out one of Emily's post's, "On Crooked Hearts".

Going Paperless, Chapter 5


This was on the Third Sunday in Lent, we didn't have service the next week, and I had spring break afterward, so I didn't write last week. Chapter 6 will hopefully be coming soon (by a guest author!), but I was on a plane for it, so I can't write it. Luckily, the guest author (if he'll write) was also leader for both 3 and 5 Lent. I might get him to write some reflections on his first leading experience.

From my perspective it was great. James is a GREAT leader with very clear signaling. He has a teacher's air about him and does a great job teaching pieces. For the first time we incorporated an Agnus Dei into the service. OH! What a great start we had! I'm getting ahead by jumping to the fraction. So, there were a lot of people there that night. I had a friend visiting and some spartners and a family that hadn't been there in awhile. I wasn't leading so I sat somewhere else and helped ring. I'd trained two ringers the day before at least one of whom was there. They're working to start leading sometimes.

This was the day that I really wished, from a music perspective we could have a regular presider, just so that the lay-planners and the clergy people could more easily and regularly plan on what's going on. This week the presider, who serves as a priest at an Anglo-Catholic parish, sang the Collect for the Day. We hadn't planned it necessarily, but he did...and I droned. While Colin and I are not of one mind about what should be sung (if you don't know, I say sing everything; let's make life a musical!) I think that working to having more things sung has a major benefit: everyone can join the prayer in an orderly fashion.

While I stand in the orans during prayers to indicate my being a part of the prayer the presider is praying on behalf of the gathered community, a sung prayer gives sonorous space for the people to join on a drone. I first experienced this during a sung eucharistic prayer at St. Gregory's and it excited me. Then I talked about it with Taylor Burton-Edwards who gave me the image of a soloist and a choir. All are singing, but one is leading the way...and everyone's voice is being heard. Everyone is embodying and actively taking part in the prayer.

All our music was the same for Lent, and Matt preached a great sermon. He sat in the same chair the presider has been sitting in, and it was great on so many levels. Seamless choreography between preacher and presider, and it just worked out really well. The music is being learned, and the parts are getting stronger, I think. James led again last Sunday, but I don't know how it went yet. I really wish my idea of a group of people leading and singing together had worked out. It would be really nice to work out physical placement in the chapel and other stuff in a group and to hear people who are doing it's perspectives.

This week we're doing different stuff for the Passion and we're looking at the rite. I'll let you know how it goes.

Also: check out this post about learning to pray through humming.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dame Julian

Friday night I had too much to drink. As I was making my way back from Harrah's to Circus Circus I was going to start an entry, but my phone died. By the time I got back to my room I managed to get the following notes to guide myself...and I understand

Francis. Fr. Ingram. Br. Abbott General. cn. dunnam. "all shall be well" emily scott. blog. drunk text.

What I was getting at is that I've just finished Glamorous Powers by Susan Howatch. I'll be blogging quotations from it very soon. I don't know why I was thinking about it while waiting for the bus, but I was. Throughout the book I pictured the character Francis Ingram as Cn. Dunnam. Lots of good quotations, but that's not the point of this entry.

The initial point of this entry was to avoid sending Emily Scott a drunk text...and now I know how I got to Cn.Dunnam/Francis. AS I walked from the piano bar to the bus stop and from the bus stop to my room I was singing in my head "All Shall Be Well," which I happened to be singing in San Francisco when I was last that intoxicated. It gave me something repetitive to think about to focus on accomplishing my objective of getting back to the hotel. In SF I was having a conversation with the bar tender and had to collect my thoughts before I could speak, that's what I had in my head.

I texted Emily about it then, but decided to blog about it Friday night since I was on Pacific TIme and it was late and she was in Eastern time. So I'm singing, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well," and remember that it plays prominently in the end of Glamorous Powers. Earlier in the book Francis said, "Must we bring Dame Julian into this!?" in an interview with Fr. Jonathan Darrow (the book's main character). Oh, Blogpress Lite, how you get my thoughts onto the interwebs. Drunk texting to a whole new level: blogging.

So, Fr. Jeff and other Commission members: I have fun. ;) Sometimes too much!

The Fifth Sunday in Lent

I spent most of the Fifth Sunday in Lent on planes. As such, I didn't hear the collect. I also was not in morning prayer this morning, so I didn't hear it today, either. But I just looked it up. Be on the look out for some other collects coming with some emphasis added for parts I like.

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Morning Has Broken

From LAS B20:


Not a sober post. If you ever want random (drunk) people to talk to you, just tell them you're a seminarian/priest-in-training. Only if it's true. But damn, I just had quite the conversation with someone that was spurred by telling him I'm a seminerdian.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This week is a tequila week. Just downed half a pitcher of margaritas. Will be drinking tequila sunrises. Other suggestions?

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Commission Meeting

Via Skype, a commission on ministry meeting. This is my outfit.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Birthday

Timothy is 22 today. Happy birthday!

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Tonight, I...

So, I saw Mary Poppins again Tuesday. Jenni, Anna, and Emily were in town and we got rush tickets. Throughout the show (well, before, at intermission, and after) we notice the guy who sold programs, umbrellas, and the like. He was really good at holding his arm up to showcase his wares. Tonight I saw Memphis. Who happened to be sitting in the front row (with us) but in the dead center? Same guy, or so Jenni and I thought, as we stared at him through most of the intermission.

When Anna came back from going to the bathroom she concurred that it was probably him. We continued to stare We wanted to know, and Anna wasn't having anything to do with that. Jenni and I paper, rock, scissored for it. I lost and was given the task of talking to him. It was time for the show to continue (it's great!), and so I had to do it at the end. After the band finished playing, Jenni and Anna made room for me to get to the aisle to meet him.

Tonight I said, "Not to be a creeper, but my friends and I were wondering if you work at Mary Poppins. We were at the show on Tuesday night." Turns out it was him. We were right. I didn't ask if he wanted a seminarian friend, although I wanted to...but talking to random strangers like that is right up there with asking random theater goers, "Do you want to get saved?" and following it with "Want to go hiking?"

Friday, March 12, 2010


This video is a life-safter. I have beautiful new yarn but keep running into problems...that are user error, not yarn problem!

Tempest Tossed

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

I had a midterm yesterday that was stressful. I didn't go to a class last night when was for the better. I got news today that something I thought has been in the works since December isn't going to work out after all. I thought I'd followed the process. I thought everything I did was appropriate, and when the other person let me know that they thought some things weren't, I understood their perspective and apologized with the intention to not mess up. We had a conversation last week and were supposed to meet again today.

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

I sent an e-mail to set up the meeting and didn't hear anything. Last week's meeting, I thought, started rocky and smoothed as it went on. We made some great, detailed plans and needed to gather some more information for a more solid, formalized timeline. We agreed to meet again today. I sent an e-mail on Monday to set up a time to meet today. I didn't hear anything back all week. I called this morning to confirm receipt of the e-mail and to check that the proposed time was a good time for meeting. I was told that they didn't think it was going to work out. No explanation why or what would've helped, just that it wasn't going to work out. Then I put my cassock on and started setting up for Eucharist. This plan that I've been nursing, somewhat counting on since December fell through...and now I need to find a replacement.

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

I stood outside the Chapel of the Good Shepherd to greet and pass out bulletins as I listened to the birds sing. Earlier this week (before it got dark and cold) I gave thanks for birdsong. I was thankful again today for the singing birds and for the rain that has been coming and going all day. Yes, it's gross, but it will get the fertilizer into the soil and it will get the new grass seed there with it. It will water the new life that is already breaking from the soil. I really wanted Ben to be chiming "Count Your Many Blessings," even though he is home now. I'm thankful for him. I was thankful for prospective students, and for James. Thankful for Jeff and the opportunity to be a sacristan. Thankful that there is no evensong tonight, so I'm both on Spring Break now. Thankful that tonight I'm seeing my third (3rd) Broadway show this week.

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

My spirits improved somewhat. They are continuing so to do now. I've discussed the situation with a few people. Some of it has been venting, some parts have been "Clearly I don't need to be there for one reason or another." Discernment is never a one-sided thing. Maybe this was a discernment on the other person's part, although right now I just feel like it's kind of flaky. Maybe there are genuine reservations, and that's part of the discernment, but I think that communal discernment means getting those things out in the open. But God's done a lot. God's directed me to look other places, and has given me lots of stuff. I have a radiator to keep me warm. I have friends from college visiting. I have been texting with a good friend I haven't heard from in awhile. Fr. Gentile helped me cast on for my next knitting project.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Greek Quotations

"It's all explained in the preface in several languages. Pick English."

Shuck and Jive

If you want to read a humorous, left blog from a Presbyterian perspective, check out Shuck and Jive, which I've just discovered today. Good links, good postings, funny. Recent posts are about Presby busybodies (we have them in every denomination!), Evolution Sunday, and Ex-gay ministries. Give it a look.

W 4th St. Graffiti

Snapped these yesterday when I had to go down to the Village. Thought I'd share.

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Glenn Beck says Leave Church

On his show last week Glenn Beck said:
I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes.

The Rev. James Martin, S.J has come great analysis of Beck's comment and what it means more broadly than just leaving local congregations.  Fr. Martin closes with this,
The attack on social justice is the tack of those who wish to ignore the concerns the poor and ignore the social structures that foster poverty. It's not hard to see why people are tempted to do so. How much easier it would be if we didn't have to worry about the poor!

But ignoring the poor, and ignoring what keeps them poor, is, quite simply, unchristian. For the poor are the church in many ways. When St. Lawrence, in the fourth century, was ordered by the prefect of Rome to turn over the wealth of the church, he presented to him the poor.

Glenn Beck's desire to detach social justice from the Gospel is a move to detach care for the poor from the Gospel. But a church without the poor, and a church without a desire for a just social world for all, is not the church.

Read it all here

Red Bull

It gives you wings.

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See the Glory

As I wrote my last entry this song came on my iPod. Another thing that giving up Facebook has done is make me get out of my room and do stuff in the city, on the Close, on the High Line...outside essentially. And I think this is a good thought about life in general, not just grace, although that's a good starting point.

Reflection on the Journey

With varying regularity over the last three years I've read Susan Russell's An Inch at a Time: Reflections on the Journey. Today I have a reflection on my journey to Easter. This a certain webpage is relevant today.
Today, I discovered that my roommate uses her twitter to complain about me. FML.
I think that right now It's very, very, good that I'm not using Facebook or Twitter or the passive-aggression would be SHOWING FORTH from my fingers.

While I can mention that I want to be passive-aggressive, I'm having to filter it because I'd never actually say it in person or directly to people in electronic communication, which is a nice objective for using electronic communication. And I'm having to process what's making me feel the way I am. The kinds of things I want to say are pretty hateful and defensive, but that's how I feel right now. And I'm having to not react. I've shed two things I don't need which, as it turns out, also separate me from God and my neighbor.

Rather than lashing out at others or getting angry and defensive (or at least showing that), I'm having to think about what's causing me to feel the way I do and try to find constructive ways to respond, if any response is warranted. I'm having to rely on other people to help me with this work since I can't do it on my own...and Lent is helping me with it. I'm praying about it and just calmly thinking about it. There's still some purely raw ranting here and there to one or two people, but most of my talk about it is a focused thought on how I got where I am and where to go from there.

For those who don't know, I take things very personally sometimes a lot of times. That's something I've struggled with for as long as I remember, and it's very likely to happen when I've invested in something. I take things personally and am hard on myself. So after I get mad about whatever critique or suggestion has been offered, I internalize it and see it as a critique of me (sometimes that order is switched), and then I blame myself for whatever it is and think of all the ways I do things wrong about whatever. I've gotten sooooo much better about the last part with regard to somethings, but I have a long way to go yet.

And I can't do it alone. I have to talk to people about how I feel, about what I hear (which is often very different than what is being conveyed), and rely on them for encouragement and guidance/suggestions on where to go, how to think, or what to do next. I'm always really thankful for surprise e-mails that say really nice things about what I'm doing. And I'm thankful for older people who are calm and not involved in the situation who can read things more neutrally.

So yeah, I'm not getting to be passive-aggressive. Probably good practice for the long run. I don't really like passive-aggression, but it's usually easier than direct response to something or actually saying something to someone that is in an appropriate tone and manner. That's a big part of my desire right now to be passive-aggressive: my aggression would be really intensely channeled aggression that wouldn't get anyone very far.

May God continue to shape me on this journey toward Easter both by God's presence and servants in my life.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Twinky Boy

Sunday morning I went to First Pres. It was the most Protestant service I've been to since Timothy's wedding. I don't mean that as a dig to either, just that I've gotten very conditioned to at least prayer book informed worship. I went to hear Emily's youth choir sing a text to Holy Manna. Since I was in the neighborhood and it was Sunday, ergo a break in the fast, I decided to go to BLT Burger. I had decided beforehand that I was going to get a milkshake from them since I was wanting one and fighting off sugars during the week is getting harder and harder, especially with the same fresh fruit options in the refectory.

The one I got is called Twinky Boy. I mean the name alone is a good place to start. ;). It is vanilla ice cream, twinkies, and caramel syrup. Yes, please.

I split my portion of my falafel burger to make the portion smaller and to make the meal more economic.

Good Morning, Part 2

Immediately after Lloyd I got 335 Return Again, which is one of my favorites. I think it's also very Lenten, too.
Savior, visit Thy plantation,
Grant us, Lord, a gracious rain!
All will come to desolation,
Unless Thou return again.


Lord, revive us!
All our help must come from Thee.

Keep no longer at a distance,
Shine upon us from on high!
Lest for want of Thy assistance,
Ev’ry plant should droop and die.

And of course neither of the songs from this morning has very good videos on YouTube, but here's what I can do.

Good Morning, Part 1

I had a very good morning after morning prayer. I started my Sacred Harp playlist before my shower this morning and it just played through. When I got back I was greeted with 503 Lloyd, which is nice, slow, and soothing.
My Savior and my King,
Thy beauties are divine;
Thy lips with blessing overflow,
And ev’ry grace is Thine.

The smilings of Thy face,
How amiable they are;
’Tis heav’n to rest in Thine embrace,
And nowhere else but there.

Nor earth, nor all the sky,
Can one delight afford;
No, not a drop of Thy real joy,
Without Thy presence, Lord.

Monday, March 8, 2010

We Entreat You O Lord

We've had beautiful weather in the City, County, and State of New York the last two days. As it was still light when we got out of Greek and was warming up, I decided to pray evening prayer on the High Line, the sun setting the whole time.


Setting behind Jersey.

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Lord Gregory Goes Lenten

Three weeks in, he yesterday decided it was time don a purple cope. Prepared to officiate at evening prayer using the office book beside him.

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Textbook Quotation

"The article [of a proper noun] must, of course, be omitted in the translation."

Must it? I might enjoy reading about the Jesus.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Little know fact about me: I find graffiti fascinating. I don't think it's the complete disregard for others' property inasmuch as the way people, espcially in subway stations, take something that's already there and add their own touch to it.

At W 4th there is a whole line of Diesel's "stupid" ads. Someone apparently took a picture of a Diesel price tag and printed on sticky paper and put one on all the signs. I wish I'd taken a picture. I got this gem at 23 and 8.

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Photo of the Day

This is an artificial bird. It apparently "lives" on 22nd St between 8th and 9th Aves.

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More On Lenten Order

A few weeks ago I wrote about getting rid of the clutter in our lives during Lent and compared it to getting rid of the clutter in my room. I'm back at that, but this time I have another layer to add to the comparison. I've got a lot to do this week, namely studying for a big midterm on Thursday plus regular classes prep-work, and entertaining. But I might be about to spend the next twenty minutes or so cleaning my room because I have to do it this weekend.

Why do I have to do it this weekend? Because I have guests coming in on Tuesday. Between classes, work, and other stuff (studying for this exam!), I won't have time to do it except today. I meant to do it yesterday, but other stuff came up that I had to do instead. And as I sit on my bed not doing the cleaning, reading, or studying, I think, "This cleaning is more with a purpose. I'm not cleaning for the sake of having a clean room (although I do like that). I'm cleaning because I'm preparing for people's arrival.

Although that sounds more like an Advent thought as we prepare for the Christ Child, I think in Lent we prepare for the presence of the Resurrected Christ. We know the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread each week in expectation and preparation for that time after we've suspended our disbelief and find out (again) that the stone is rolled away. While I've been conscious about Lent as a time of preparation and cleaning up, I think I have a little more to think about as I tidy up my life, stripping away the unnecessary stuff. I'm doing this to get ready for an encounter with Christ.

But today I'm doing this to prepare for an encounter with Jenni and Anna!

Friday, March 5, 2010


As I'm standing or sitting in the Chapel for mid-day Eucharist, I thought I'd share this with you.  I love the new schedule post time/date thing!  I don't know what this gathering is, but it's big. Emily Scott is leading music. This is an example of the way prayers are sung at St. Lydia's on Sunday nights, and there's a snippet of "To the Bath and the Table."


I have a friend that I met on Twitter. I actually have a few, but this is one I've had several meaningful conversations with despite our very different worldviews. He took issue with some of my entries from Tuesday. He's a Catholic seminarian, and I can track his views in Statcounter, although sometimes he reads via Google Buzz. I e-mailed him yesterday because he wasn't showing up has having read one that I wanted him to read. He replied that he had via Buzz, had some issues, and was going to reflect more. And I replied that I expected him to, but wanted his feedback. We have very different world views, but we listen to each other.

He and I are going to have a deeper, ongoing discussion about the Eucharist now, but it's going to take time and him not being in the midst of midterms (or me in the midst of them shortly). But we engage really well. A big part of that, I think, is that neither of us comes to the table suspicious of the other. I have some other friends with whom I've tried to discuss things, but the approach is different. The current friend and I aren't trying to prove the other wrong. Neither of us has felt wronged by the other.

We affirm each other. We may not necessarily buy into the others' ideas, but we're happy to share with each other, and we affirm the positions that the other has reached by his own volition. I think one of the things that lets me open up is that I don't feel him going on the defensive with the intention to tear me down; he disagrees, but he listens. He's listened to a good rant about a horrible sermon. He's made a safe space by not being defensive, but ceding points where I make them, and then responding for clarification or to add nuance to what I've said.

And we both take style into account. We both know that the other is where he is because he feels called there. We don't expect blog entries to read like Aquinas. We don't take (legitimate) critique of institutions to which we belong as personal attacks. Charges of heresy and hypocrisy are equally heard but neither of us feels as though he is being called a heretic or a hypocrite. I look forward to continued dialogues about what the Eucharist means to us and our churches, and potentially our personal objections to the others' postion, but as an exercise in articulation and thought, rather than personal attack or critique.

And for some reason I find this whole dialogue, which is just beginning, very Lenten somehow. I don't know if it's stripping away the pretenses about each other, or if it's making room and way for the presence of the Resurrected Christ through our conversation. Maybe it's the whole what I'm finding happening in my making more real connections (at least more in-depth) versus usually more shallow social networking and instantaneous electronic communication.

Look for a follow-up shortly. I've sent some e-mails and haven't gotten replies yet (e-mails in succession), and I'm ceding why I disagree with someone this person really likes (and why I have people that I like), but that perhaps there can be something that I affirm about my friend's person he likes.

Goodbye Snow

This is what the igloo is now.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010


These are the boots I bought last Friday:

Monday I was walking in the Village and stumbled upon a Marc Jacobs with colorful men's Wellies...for cheaper than my Kmart boots. I returned the tan boots on Tuesday with the intention of getting Wellies. Today at lunch, after a dreadful morning and rocky start to lunch someone proposed our going to get Wellies together. I came back with these:

They're a red-orange with yellow soles and buckles. They can be worn over or under boot-cut jeans. I'm quite pleased with my purchase. Good looking and functional for fighting "New York Gravy" when drains don't drain and snow starts to melt.

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Give Me the Risk Takers

Father Jake has a very nice piece today on MadPriest's recent announcement about his job. Fr. Jake talks about redemption, but here are two paragraphs that I particularly liked:
If bishops and search committees continue to believe the wise thing to do is to "play it safe" and never take any risks (yes, unfortunately, being "creative" is considered "risky" in many Church circles), then they can expect a small return on their investment. And, if they continue to insist on running a Church as if it were a business, with "risk management" factors built into their personel choices, I'll take a pass, tyvm.

Give me the risk takers, those living on the edge. That's where you'll find the modern day prophets, those seeking the movement of God in this present moment, and not afraid to follow where it leads.
Make sure you read the whole thing here.

Going Paperless, Chapter 4


This past week things again got better. We took out that extra phrase in "Return to God," and we were much stronger singing the refrain together. I'm thinking about how to get a drone going, but I think it's going to stem from having some ringers that drone around the people. We might be condensing our seating, maybe which would help people hear the ringers. I think this week again I'll do all the petitions, but starting next week my have a few other students prepared to offer petitions to model it so that the next week more people will have seen people other than me offer biddings, thus when I open it up, they might be comfortable opening them.

We sang the second phrase of "Come Light of Lights" a whole lot this week. Slight malfunction that was no big problem, but we sang it over and over again. I could've taught the whole song, but I've been trying to keep it simple. Maybe this week we'll add the first phrase in. I've been going with just the second because it fits better with right before the gospel, especially if you're teaching a song very, very quickly as someone walks five feet to the altar to get the gospel book and comes back with it. That's thus far been teaching it and then us singing once or twice. Not enough time for the entire song.

I'm still trying to figure out how to teach a second phrase that has different music but the same words; when I start the second phrase the people often join in, even if I'm indicating to listen or that I'm singing. This isn't just a chapel thing, though, I've seen it other places. I think our space contributes to that, though. I think our space and what we do with it is going to get more and more important in both the paperless music we're doing and just what we're doing with the service. This dialogue about a second phrase with the same text is because we sang "What We Need is Here" as we went up to the table.

Four weeks in and I'm really starting to appreciate the way the presiders can sing as they set up the table and get things ready. I've watched Mo. Sandi and Fr. Mark do this lately. It's nice to see them pouring things or getting them just ready and still being in the community. I think that they probably appreciate it, too. I know that I get frustrated when I have to do stuff with my hands which means I can't hold a hymnal to sing whatever we're singing. We did Mark Miller's Sanctus et Benedictus again, and the hosannahs at the end are the same as the second phrase in "What We Need." Requires some thought.

In Chapter 3 I told you about introducing "Whoever Eats This Bread" as a round as a breakthrough moment. The first part starting singing stronger when the second part was introduced. This week, someone started the second part (or started to start it) before I did. When I did they joined me. Then someone started a third. I think that when we got fully going we were singing it in five parts. There may've only been 2-4 voices singing on each part, but they were singing and could be heard. As I signaled to end we all finished our parts, and the last part was a tiny voice singing with her mother. She got nervous when she realized she was really the only one singing, but I nodded to her and sang with her.

I had to think on the fly for our song after the dismissal Sunday night. We're doing "Jesus is With Us, Let Us...." during Lent, but I'd only heard it with "Go in peace to love and service the Lord" and "Let us bless the Lord." Fr. Mark used, "Let us go forth in the name of Christ," which didn't fit either of my settings, so we sang "Let us go with Christ." I think, since we've done that two weeks now and are rather robust at it I'm going to introduce the layer either this week or next. I feel like seeing that this can be more complex encourages the people, but that could be a false perception.

Apparently one of the girls was leading with her hands during the song. She has experience at home with her mom doing musical stuff with hand signals, so the idea of up and down with the hand is not new to her. After I gathered my stuff together to head out to St. Lydia's I came into the chapel to go through and out. As I walked in three girls and a mother (two of the girls belonged to her) were singing "Whoever Eats This Bread" in three part round. The tune and text stuck. A student's wife said to me (with some enthusiasm), "We liked the round! It was good!"

So, we're getting it. Little things like tiny voices singing on their own at the end of the round or people singing the songs outside the service are nice. I left bubbling and was quite pleased, which Emily noticed. I also got a really encouraging e-mail last week, which helped. Lots of good affirmation about this coming around. Easier to keep going when there's encouragement. I have some broader ideas, too, but those will have to wait awhile.

Why I Text

Sometime last night my best friend Cary Lee sent me an e-mail with a link to this comic. Give it a click and see why I like texting over talking on the phone (for the most part). Some exceptions for some people, but I dread talking to some people on the phone, and some people just shouldn't use the phone.

10 Reasons to Avoid Talking on the Phone

Mental Health Day

I'm trying really hard to not skip classes today. I feel like it's not going to be a good day and that if I go I'm going to have a hard time paying attention. My exercising is frustrating me today. I got up to run this morning, but I didn't do it. I was on the elliptical about three minutes before I said I wasn't doing it this morning. I went to set up faculty coffee and decided I'd try again. I made it four minutes and said, "I'll just do 20 today instead of 40, that'll get something done." At five I quit again. I just have no motivation to run today. I'll try to make it up on Saturday, but right now I feel like a failure.

I had a mini-freak out Tuesday during the work out. I'm unfortunately so self-aware that I know that a lot of the frustration is media body image stuff...but knowing that doesn't make me say, "I don't need to look like that," when, in fact, I do want to look like that...but I want some kind of motivation to work toward it or feel like getting there isn't hopeless. I'm not expecting overnight changes, but something four weeks in wouldn't hurt. I went to the doctor yesterday for a first meeting. I weighed 204. I thought I'd lost four pounds in these four weeks. I actually may not have weighed 208 in January; I may have actually weight more like 213-214. While on the one hand that'd mean I'd lost closer to ten pounds, it also means I'd gained more weight than I'd realized.

All the one liners about exercise are feeling empty right now. No, I don't have more energy through the day. No, I don't feel better in general. No, I don't feel great right after a work out. I'm still sore from Tuesday which means that I did something, but tomorrow I'll still be sore and I'll try to push myself and I'll feel like I'm failing and I won't want to keep going. I'm a pretty healthy 23 year old, and that's not from exercising five days a week. It's hard to keep going when I'm just in pain, feeling like I'm doing the exercises wrong or not as well as I just should be. I'm in general hard on myself and get really frustrated about things that don't come naturally to me.

I hate that I feel like I'm fat sometimes. I hate that I feel like I look fat. But those are two things I feel, particularly moments like now when I didn't run. I know I'll never be rail thin, but I'd like to be thinner. Looking at people's heights/weights is deceptive because my frame is just bigger. I'm getting tired of eating the same fruits in the refectory every day as I cut back my sugar intake and feeling like it's for naught...all the while looking at all the cookies and cheesecakes and brownies. I think my relationship with sugar has improved; when I do eat it I'm very conscious of how much I'm eating. That's a step in the right direction if nothing else. There is lots of positive, but it's hard to see right now. I couldn't do my 40 minutes on the elliptical.

Now is a perfect time to reflect on Lenten stripping down, I suppose. I don't need to look like an Abercrombie model, even if I want to. I don't need to be as thin or fit as some of my classmates are. I need to be healthy, and that doesn't mean being ripped, even if that's what I want. I need to consciously not let that be an idol. I think it's okay for me to exercise to look better, but I need to be exercising to be healthy. I have to figure out how to slog through one to get to the other, though...and I have the distinct feeling that, like so many other things, it won't be on my own.

So, people of Chelsea and people of Chelsea Square. If you are interested in doing exercise on the elliptical or treadmill or running around Chelsea at about 6:05 three mornings a week, be in touch with me. I don't know how far I can go, I've just been trying to be active for forty minutes. I am taking a mental health morning, missing Old Testament, and will be in Church History.


This should be publishing as I'm trying to get on the elliptical. I'm writing it the night before but figure that five entries in one day is a little excessive, as if four in one day weren't. I've spent the last hour and forty-five minutes applying labels to most of my blog entries. Someone on statcounter looked at the ones I'd labeled quotations, and they were probably disappointed, at how few things were labeled. But no more! I've gone through and stuff is labeled now, and I'm going to try to set up some kind of side thing that shows certain labels (but not all of them). I'll do that tomorrow, though.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Story of How I Became a Postulant

I started this entry on 5 November 2008 and left it as a draft for some reason. I guess I just forgot that I'd started it and forgot to finish it. Now I'll post it, though, and I hope y'all are as amused as I am recollecting the ending.

See, wha'ha'happe was this one time I had drove to Pensacola. I had drove after leading a Bible study and then I had got to my aunt's house. She had tried to stay up to wait for me but she couldn't. But my cousin Matthew was up because he had just got home. We had talked for a few minutes and then I had went to bed. I had set my alarm for 8:00, but I wasn't sure that I'd even be able to sleep that long. I woke up at 8:00.

When I had got up all my family had gone but my cousin Seth. He stay with my aunt and uncle but he ain't their kid. He go to school in Pensacola. When I had finished showering and getting ready we had watched Patch Adams together while we had talked about school. We had had to leave at the same time. He had went to classes and I had to go to the bishop's office for my meeting about being a postulant. My directions wasn't too good, so I had got off the interstate and went the wrong direction. It didn't feel right, though, so I had called the office and talked to my friend Sally. She work there and we had went to Cursillo together. I had just passed Sammy's, and she had gave me good directions.

Sorry, I can't do it anymore. I'm too tired.

When I got to the diocesan office I had a seat and then Mary Poss took me to the kitchen where I had a banana and a Diet Coke (Diet Coke, Diet Coke). I waited until I was called in. The bishop was so nice. He asked if my tie was okay. He told me to breathe. Then he told me to go in and have a seat. I did. I met the members of the Commission on Ministry. The bishop started by complimenting my tie and asking me, if he could without being to outrageous, show the commission my socks. They were tan with brown vertical stripes and red horizontal stripes. Where they intersected they made orange squares. They're a pair of my fun socks. I have six now.

So we went through the forty-five minute interview. I was asked about the priesthood. I talked about the Baptismal Covenant as a life of self-marginalization, and that the ordained are called to lead and invite the laity in the self-marginalization to which they've committed. Canon Dunnam asked if people who wear yellow bow ties marginalize themselves from society. I replied that people who wear yellow bow ties might be marginalized from society because they aren't the dominant trend, but that those who have been called to lead in self-marginalization, at least in The Episcopal Church, tend to wear white collars. He replied with, "Touché," and laughed. Two lay people clapped and everyone else at least laughed.

Cn. Dunnam also asked where I'd acquired my proficiency with language. I started by telling him that I'd answered that question in that building before. (Bishop Duncan asked me that when I went to talk to him in February.) I told him that Mom was an English teacher and that Romey had been particular about our speech and interviewing skills. Then he asked how my peers reacted, if at all. I told him for the most part that they don't. My group of friends all have our special areas and we use our terms and teach each other. I told the Commission about nerd hands for when someone does something ridiculously nerdy, and they laughed. I talked about Erin being an English major and Tate saying "amenesis." Then I was done talking to them.

I went to Aunt Terrie's to get lunch and chatted online briefly. I went back to the diocesan office for talks we were going to have about seminary life. Before going in I collected my thoughts since I was a little early. Four clergy people who've graduated from seminary in the last three years. We had conversations for three hours. It wasn't too bad, actually. A number of people called a few times to see if I had news. My phone was on silent. The conversations consisted of the four clergy people and all the people who'd been interviewed about postulancy, so we all got to meet one another, too. The talks were very good. They were informal and not stressful.

Then came the time for announcements. This is where the entry is picking up over a year later. We all waited in the diocesan office's lobby as we were called in one at a time. I got my announcement, and as we know by now, I became a postulant. However, there's more to that story. After the announcement, as I'm bubbling with excitement (and completely not feeling like it's election day), I went to get in my car. I felt my suit pockets, and what do you know, but my keys weren't in them!

I went around to the passenger's side and low and behold, my keys were in the ignition. I was still driving the Grand Prix at the time, and I had a very set routine for getting out of my car and locking the door. It started with taking the keys out of the ignition as I turned my lights off after I'd put the car in park, then opening the door. I had sat to collect my thoughts, and thus I had thrown off my routine. Door got locked, keys never made it out of the ignition. I was mortified. I told people inside what was going on, I think only the bishop and Mary were left at that point, and it worked out.

The bishop called AAA to open my car, which they did. However, we had to wait for the locksmith to get there. Bishop Duncan and I had pimento cheese sandwiches and Diet Cokes on Sally's desk while we waited for the locksmith to get there. I was so embarrassed. Freshly made postulant locks his keys in his car, and then the bishop has to wait with him before he can leave. Great beginning, you know? The locksmith came and opened the passenger door. We unlocked all the doors from it and Bishop Duncan held it open until I was safely in the driver's seat with the car started. Then I drove back to Troy, excited about being a postulant and about the election that was happening.

Quotation of the Day

Dear Wisconsin Man,

Dinner Church comes from God.  If you don't have that, you can't have this.


It's been in the 40s here. This is what happens:

This was an igloo.

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Fatwa Against Terrorism

Please check out this link from the BBC. Please read it, pass it around, tweet it, and share it on Facebook. I have the sneaking suspicion that it won't get a lot of play in American media. Make sure your friends and family who say, "If there are Muslims who are against terrorism, they really should speak up" see this.

Islamic scholar Tahir ul-Qadri issues terrorism fatwa

(h/t to The Lead)


In light of this Sunday's Old Testament reading (which I did in lectio yesterday morning), I thought that posting this is highly appropriate.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Intentional, Repetitive Worship

In a recent entry Bosco Peters talks about "predictable worship," the idea that Anglican/liturgical worship is rote or people just going through the motions The part of his entry that resonated most with me was this:
My hackles were raised at blaming worship that is “rote, predictable and uninspiring.” The other side of seeing worship as “rote” is seeing it as “by heart”. Worship “by heart” has been the Judaeo-Christian tradition for at least 3,000 years. I would like to see the peer-reviewed statistical evidence that there is a correlation between “rote, predictable” worship and causality of decline. I have participated in plenty of “rote, predictable” worship, from Taize, through great cathedrals, to China, and the heart of Zaire, where there is clearly no correlation to declining numbers. The danger of linking “uninspiring” to “rote and predictable” is it feeds a prejudice that in order to grow numerically in our “new context” we need to abandon the liturgical tradition of Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Orthodoxy, etc. Nothing, IMO, is further from the truth. In this context it is worth noting the recent announcement that the proportion of Roman Catholics worldwide has increased. IMO we need training and formation as leaders and communities to celebrate worship that is “by heart, common worship, and inspiring.”

I hate to say it, but I've encountered a lot of Episcopal worship that is "rote, predictable, and uninspiring." But the reason it's been that way hasn't been that I know what's coming next. The services that have been the best for me haven't been ones that deviate from the text or rubrics of the prayer book. A lot of my feeling about a good service aren't about wacky liturgy, but rather that the people -- especially the leaders, music, clergy, and other lay leaders -- are invested in what's going on. They are focused on the moment and know what they're doing and know what's going to happen.

That's been what I've so much enjoyed about the LT90 Eucharist on Thursdays in Chapel, and I hope that the same thing is coming through on Sunday nights. The groups responsible for putting those services together get together and talk extensively about what's going to happen in the course of the service. They put thought into it and they make decisions. On Sundays we've added the Creed. We've also altered the presider's binder so that there is a note saying, "Turning to page 358 in the Book of Common Prayer let us reaffirm our faith," or something to that effect. This is a child-friendly service. Children in large part neither know the Creed nor know where it is -- yet. The Thursday eucharist planning class plans the service on Tuesdays, makes notes, collaborates, and on Thursday morning goes over what they've decided and practice the service.

A lack of intentionality affected how I felt about a number of services that I myself planned. First problem there is that I was planning them on my own. Often times I was making bulletins the night before and doing exactly what Taylor Burton-Edwards says NOT to do: plugging and playing hymns from a lectionary hymn guide, leaving the same typo-ridden prayers of the people form, and springing new things on Ashley at the last minute. One of the best services I remember planning was on Native American Sunday (or something like that in the UMC), where I used the guide, but I was conscious to begin with about our observing it. I knew who the preacher was, and although we didn't coordinate with him explicitly, I knew that his sermon would likely have a myth from an Indigenous Americas people. I put a lot more thought and effort into that service and everyone in the room, as I recall (and there were only 8 of us) felt something different.

There is a big difference in worship from rote and worship by heart, and uninspiring is linked to rote, I think. In my experience, when leaders are just going through motions and doing what they have to do, or appear to be sight-reading a eucharistic prayer that's been out for thirty years (and they've been priests for that long or longer), or blaring the music over the people rather than assisting the people in singing praise to God, the gathered assembly goes through the motions and just gets through the service. The best services I've been to that I can recall are ones where, even in the confines of the normal week-in-week-out plan decisions about worship are intentionally made so that the people together can do their work, whether that's choosing one good familiar hymn and dropping the instrumentation every other voice or officiants at spoken morning prayer focusing on the moment and living in it.

Worship by heart can grow from worship from rote, but it takes a lot of focus and intention.

Torture a Catholic Virtue?

No, actually, it's not, but Marc Theissen seems to think so, despite what the US Catholic bishops have said. Check out The Lead for more, as they quote Theissen, the New York Times, and Andrew Sullivan, who points us to the Catechism
Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.
And someone tell me when he's denied receiving the Eucharist for his manner of life, or the political positions he posits to the public in defiance of church teaching (not intended alliteration).

I'll Have a Serving of Grace, Please?

h/t to MadPriest for pointing this out from the Dutch News (emphasis added)
On Sunday, dozens of gay men and women attended mass at the St Jan cathedral in Den Bosch to protest at the local bishop's decision to exclude homosexuals from the ceremony. And many of them left the church is a noisy protest after priest Geertjan van Rossem told the congregation that in order to receive communion people needed to have the 'correct' experience of sexuality.

'Homosexuals are welcome in the church. But we ask practising homosexuals not to take part in communion out of respect for the sacrament,' he said.

The protest follows the refusal of a local priest to give communion to the carnival prince in the nearby small town of Reusel during the pre-Lent celebrations. The decision caused an uproar and led to newspaper Gaykrant urging gay Catholics to head to Reusel en masse and attend church. The refused communion to everyone who attended the service - regulars and newcomers alike.

The part I've bolded is a contradiction. They might as well say, "You're welcome to come, but you need to not stand, sit, or kneel when we do, and you don't need to say the prayers or sing. Actually, we'll build you a balcony. You can come, but you can't participate in the point of the service. Frankly, that's how I feel about going to Mass as a Protestant (and thus why I stopped going so frequently in Troy, particularly when when I heard talk that some people weren't happy about my continued attendance but not seeking to join). You don't invite someone to dinner and not serve them.

Additionally, what does this say about sacramental theology? If the Eucharist is a way that grace is conveyed, why does someone have to be either straight or celibate to receive it? Not that I agree with the idea that queerfolk are disordered, but really, do the healthy (in the church's eyes) need a doctor? That's something I've failed to understand from this mindset. If you think they're wrong, how are they going to get "right" if you shut them out? That goes to any group. And maybe we've forgotten, but Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes. "They're cool now. Thus saith me."

And finally, what's with singling this group out? I mean, really? As someone at MadPriest pointed out, you can't look at someone and tell if they're having sex with someone of the same sex. But that's not the only requirement to receive in the Roman church, from what I recall. When are priests going to start having a sign in during the twenty minutes a week they offer reconciliation, and if you don't make it not serve you the following Sunday? Those who miss on Holy Days of Obligation during the week? Missing Mass then is a mortal sin, but I don't see headlines about priests turning the droves of people who don't come to those days away.

I understand a church having its teaching, regardless of what I think about that teaching. I don't understand it choosing to hit hard on one point and ignore things that actually matter in their theology, like needing to be in a state of grace after having been absolved to receive the eucharist, or in the instance of a protestant denomination, denying someone membership to the local church while ignoring sacramental theologybeing smashed to pieces around the jurisdiction.

We all come to the table as broken-being-healed sinners being redeemed, all of us in need of grace. I think Jesus said something about people who are eligible to throw stones. The church has a role in our lives. We certainly need the church to teach us and to guide us as we are made more perfect through this life into the next. I don't, however, need the church to restrict those who are eligible to receive outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual graces. The people the church wants to (at least in theory) bring into the Kin-dom of God are going to be less and less tolerant of it throwing stones from its glass houses as abuses continue to be covered up the world over and the Church doesn't really try to rectify the situation or find real reconciliation.

Helping of grace, anyone?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Surprise Picture

This is an igloo. We built it on Friday night. It started collapsing on itself on Saturday evenin as the temperature started to rise. I had more of an entry about this, but a text message ate it.

This is Bethesda Fountain. When it's cold the fountain is off. When it's snowy, you can walk in the fountain to get a shot this close with your iPhone.

God's gonna trouble the water.

Productive Weekend

I had a very productive weekend. I got up early on Saturday and went to the Park. I could curse for not writing this last night. I have all the pictures on Facebook and would link to them, but no Facebook during the week! Drat! I'll post some from my phone of a few things that I snapped shots of, but I was really preferring the real digital camera for higher resolution. This is stuff I'll probably get prints of sometime.

Then two hours in the Met. That already was productivity: two hours playing in the park, two hours at the museum! I went back to my room and played around on here (blogging and looking at stats), and then I slept for three hours. I got a phone call that woke me up. I was going to go back to sleep, but I couldn't. The longer I stayed awake the hungrier I got, so I stayed awake. I wrote my museum paper and finished my philosophy paper that I had started the night before. Then I went over to Jess's and watched PS I Love You which was really long but was really sweet.

Yesterday I was late for church but I went to the adult forum/new person meeting/confirmation class. I was there a long time, but I met some people and had good conversations. I started to see how St. Mark's, if I'm there, will push me; it won't be a skate for me even though I'll enjoy it. I came back, did Greek, read Old Testament, led music in the Chapel (exciting blog entry forthcoming), and then went to St. Lydia's. Really busy weekend, got all my writing done. No running today, but I did proof my paper that's due today. Midterm (and visitors!) next week.