Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sometimes Life's Humbling

Across from our office are some apartments that attract less than stellar residents. A few are dealing dope, some are less than stable mentally and all are marginalized. One particular couple in their mid 50's live directly across the street and are constantly pestering us. Borrowing money 'till next month (that they always pay back), borrowing toilet paper that they don't and getting candy from the candy jar though they shouldn't. She's a diabetic and is always the one getting candy, it's not that we mind sharing. Both of them would be considered "slow" by any standard; but, they are well meaning and we tolerate them. Perhaps as we believe we are called to do.

Am scheduled for hip replacement next week and needless to say, I'm somewhat anxious about it. It will be done by a premier Surgeon in a top rated Hospital for Ortho. Surgery, so I have no real need for concern but I am anyway. I'm an INTJ, remember? As the couple across the street are here at least a couple of times a week; they know about my surgery, and he, particularly, has shown concern for me and spoken to me about it several times. In turn, I've been respectful towards him but generally "blown him off." Being that he's a little slow on the uptake, I have better things to do with my time.

The latter part of this past week he came over yet again, into my office, asked if he could say a prayer for me about my surgery and then did. It certainly was a simple petition, not like we expect to hear from our Clergy, the more "enlightened" laity, or even our peers. But, there was no questioning the faith and heartfelt trust with which it was offered, and I pray received.

Frequently we say: "We'll keep you in our prayers" and do, though sometimes I wonder about the true belief with which those prayers are offered. The other day there was no question. No if's, ands or maybes; and from one who might be refered to as: "The lesser of these." Talk about being brought down a peg, I was. But you know what; after that offering from my friend, whether I want him as such or not, his petition on my behalf I knew was heard and would be answered, and that's really a good feeling. And in retrospect it's also nice to have another friend.

'Till later, Pax.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A view from the Center Aisle

Seems I've received yet more recent issues of both Nevertheless and Encompass. Seems also, that the rhetoric in each publication is becoming more and more shrill and exclusive and that neither side wants to even consider trying to work towards reconciliation.

Historically, the Elizabethan Settlement (later known as the Via Media) set aside personal preferences in hopes of bringing unity and peace to a divided Church. Bp. Don Wimberly, Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, recently (late Sept. '06) hosted a meeting of many other Diocesan Bishops at Camp Allen (a place I consider holy ground, BTW). Those Bishops were they who would hold TEC together while at the same time refusing to be disenfranchised by the Anglican Communion. Ultra-conservative"right wingers" accused their brothers at that meeting of selling out to the left and not taking a strong enough stand. Ultra-liberal "left wingers" accused them of selling out to the right and not standing up for what they (the left) represented likewise.

If we continue down this path where there must be a winner and a loser, there will be no winners and all will lose. Pray that those of us in the middle are not collateral damage of the movements which would destroy this Episcopal Church which we hold dear.

Far Out
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Judge Harry & NOLA

Just saw that Harry Anderson (the Judge of "Night Court", the TV sitcom) has decided to pack up and leave the City. He's sold his house, his magic shop, the club he was opening and is moving on. Seems the daily battles became too much for him to continue putting up with. I'm not talking New Orleans' "clean-up", I mean fighting City Hall, the NOPD, the power company, etc, etc, etc.

That makes me sad. Not that Harry's leaving, but that another small piece of what makes NOLA special and unique has gone by the wayside. If things don't begin turning around soon, the City will have lost much of what allows one to develop their own personal love affair with it.

I read a quote attributed to him and it seems to sum up the whole stinking mess. He says: "New Orleans is like a woman you never stop loving, but you can't live with her either. I have never been less sure of anything I've ever done. I always feel like I could live in the French Quarter forever. And if it weren't in New Orleans, I would."

Godspeed and Go in Peace, Harry; we'll miss seeing you around.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ray Price

I’ve listened to a lot of country singers in my time and Ray Price is surely at the top of my list of favorites. ‘Nigh on to 45 years ago, when all the country stars hit the Honky Tonks on tour, we never missed an appearance by Ray. He was simply the best. The last time wife and I went Honky Tonkin’ it was to hear him, accompanied by friends we’ve long since lost contact with. One died way too young, some ten or so years back.

About two years ago Ray did a concert here. Yeah, we sure did go see him and he was as good as ever. Only problem was that it was a concert, not a dance; and he only did one set. He had some new numbers that he mixed in with all our old favorites. One song he sang really hit home with me ‘cause Ray ain’t as young as he used to be and neither am I.

Called "Time", the lyrics follow:

Time is a monster,
that lives in our clocks,
it’s heartless and shows no remorse.
Consuming our future,
as we fight that 100 year war.

Time is a soldier,
steady and true,
relentlessly trudging along.
And time takes no prisoners,
nothing but time marches on.

Time is a weapon,
it’s cold and its cruel.
It knows no religion,
and plays by no rules.
Time has no conscience,
when it’s all said and done;
like a beast in the jungle,
that devours its young.

You can burn up the highway,
fly like the wind,
run down those long shiny rails.
But time’s right behind you,
like a hound dog that’s hot on your trail.

But were all in the same boat,
so just hold on,
and ride it to the end of the line.
Time waits for no one,
and everyone runs out of time.


While you’re young and “Bullet Proof” you don’t think too much about it; but as one starts dealing with all sundry issues of later middle age you're forced to accept the truth of the lyrics. Time does march on. And some days it causes me to look upon myself as a dinosaur. But let me tell you, the age of the dinosaur was a great age and it was sure as hell great to be one.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I Believe

Among the publications I read are Nevertheless - A Texas Church Review and Encompass (a publication of the AAC). Nevertheless is a decidedly liberal publication frequently featuring articles by The Rev. Bill Coats of the Diocese of Newark. Encompass, as one might expect, is just as decidedly conservative, being the American Anglican Council's newsletter. While both have some valid thoughts, I am bothered by both publications.

Issues involving our Church seem to have reached the point where there MUST be a winner and loser and neither side gives a damn about the other's opinions, thoughts or theology, nor do they want to dialogue; they only want their own way. In my experience, these opinions, thoughts and theology go well beyond one's interpretation of human sexuality and extend to the very core of our beliefs as Christians. And that's where I begin having problems.

This blurb started out to be an opinion "that both sides of these issues need to back off and let time work things out through a process of discernment". I believe that's still a valid point. But then, I think about some of the wider beliefs of the ultra liberal side I've recently read and began thinking about the Creeds we recite Sunday after Sunday.

"I Believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary and made man, was crucified, died, buried and thereafter rose from the dead" (paraphrased). From my point of view, it seems some of the more liberal folks in our Church don't really agree with those concepts. They see Jesus, the Christ, as "metaphorical" and not as God made man, come to offer atonement for His creation. I opine we have now begun stepping on very dangerous ground. The Church is founded on the belief of a crucified and risen Christ. Can we truly be so bold as to say that everything in the discerned history of the Christian church is subject to change as we, today, decide? I have a serious problem in some current theologians determining what really happened, particularly when it flies in the face of 2000 years of learning and understanding. Just because the Incarnation cannot be proven as a scientific reality does not make it invalid, why else call it faith? One must believe that Divine Inspiration was at work throughout time; including the Great Church Councils which developed and quantified our faith and not that some "inspired mind" today has the true path as some of our most liberal leadership would today have us believe.

It occurs that when someone begins questioning God being made man in the form of Jesus, one begins moving away from Christianity into some other belief system. If that's the case, let's call it what it is, and not try and foist it off as merely different thought within the Christian church.

Having taken on the liberals let me now take a shot at the conservatives. As Christians, we are an evolving people and our faith should exist in light of that evolution. Certainly, modern scholarship provides insight into history and neither should we reject current understandings. As an Episcopalian, I don't have to believe everything that my brother or sister sitting across the pew from me does. We are asked to be a thinking and learning people who are not bound up by the 613 Laws of the Old Testament. We are asked to study, to learn and to grow as a result of those labors. Amen, "let it be so".

But ultimately, we are called to be followers of Jesus, the Christ. When it becomes that we reject or sublimate Him, we are rejecting and sublimating Christianity itself and then, my friends, we are no longer believers.