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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Blast from my Past, part 1: Christian Music on the Radio

Couple things appeared this week that reminded me of how much things have changed in our lives (one more MY life than Izzy's.)

Came home to a message on the answering machine: "If you are a female ages 30 to 45 and you listen to Christian Music on the radio, call this number for an important survey." I think there was a $$ offer as well.

Sadly, I had to think for a second to see if I fit the age category. I guess there really is a time when when you stop counting.

More importantly, I realized how little I listen to Christian Music Radio.

In my undergrad years in Tulsa, we listened to an amazing station out of Sapulpa, OK, that played all sorts of music in the new CCM genre. Amy Grant's pop, Keith Green's prophecy, Barry McGuire's growling, the Imperials & Russ Taff's big sound, Andrus Blackwood and Leon Patillo's gospel, plus Nancy Honeytree, Erick Nelson & Michelle Pillar, Issac Air Freight (Christian stand-up--wonderfully funny), Phil Keaggy in both vocal and instrumental, Michael & Stormie Omartian, Andre Crouch, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Stephanie Boosahda, etc. The music was anything BUT homogenized--all earnest, sincere, and careful to present the truth as understood by the artists.

I'd heard bit of this cornucopia in my HS years in SC, despite admonitions from youth leaders that the "rock and roll beats" of the music pointed to its satanic roots. So, rather than listening to hymns and gospel quartets on WMHK (We Make Him Known), we'd sit in someone's car and -- yes, this really happened-- we'd sneak off to listen to an 8-track of the Pat Terry Group.

Moving to Dallas, Izzy introduced me to KPBC AM radio. He had an acquaintance who operated His Place Music in Oak Cliff. KPBC played and His Place sold this same variety of music, and brought wonderful concerts to town. Other groups brought artists to town, and played their music on the air--Larry Norman, Bob Bennett, Petra, Amy Grant (more rock now), DeGarmo & Key, Phil Keaggy, Daniel Amos, Mylon LeFevre, etc. We loved Kemper Crabb and the All Saved Freak Band, Lamb and Steve and Annie Chapman, the Talbot Brothers and Michael Card and Resurrection Band. (There's more; and we've got it on vinyl...)

As AM radio faded, we got KOJO (later KLTY) FM, and 1st got exposed to limited play lists. We heard and saw Randy Stonehill and Rich Mullins, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, but nobody played Mark Heard, the Swirling Eddies, The Choir, Charlie Peacock, or Julie Miller. We discovered Pierce Pettis via NPR. Bruce Cockburn came to town, but the Christian stations didn't promote his appearance.

Moving to NC, we found friends with similar musical tastes, but no radio. By the time K-Love appeared, with the same folks who had done KLTY, we'd stopped using Christian radio to alert us to new artists. At one point, we listened to lots of "Jesus Music Oldies" on the net, and looked far and wide to see appearances of folks (catching up with lots of them at C'stone 98.) We found "truth" in the music of Jason Harrod, Bill Mallonee and the Vigilantes of Love, and hymns/ballads written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

So, we moved again and have access to WMHK. No more hymns, no more gospel quartets, just the same P&W music over and over on a very limited play list. They had a tiny time period for oldies (Streets of Gold), but that disappeared. Now it's IIIrd Day (which Izzy and I both think sounds like "Hoootie Got Saved"), Zoe Girl, and a few other folks--some sort of knock-off of "Delilah" in the evenings..

Lest this sound like one of those "today's music is horrible--it was better in my day" rants from an old person, I've thought about the difference, What I hear when I listen to CCM is stuff that can be sung as special music or praise music in chuch--lots of it, and that's great if that's what you need to hear. What I don't hear is music that tackles the tough parts of living out our faith; I don't hear music with complex lyrics; I don't even hear re-workings of old hymns.

I don't hear much beyond the "Jesus-is-my-boyfriend" type songs.

So, I erased the message.

Tomorrow: Seed Faith.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sunday's Music--Pescador: Leaving and Finding

Late posting on it, but let's just say migraines suck and move on.
There were three of us, all female, this week singing, with Soprano1 and her hubby on guitar.  I had hoped we'd sing "Lord, You Have Come" and was delighted when I arrived and saw we'd be singing it.  It also well-suited our voices and we did two and three-part hamrmonies. It's great when things work out that way.
After reading so many posts on the English translation, I was pleased to see that our missallettes only credited OCP. 
Back to the topic. Soprano2, with whom I (Alto) regularly sing at 9 AM, had grown up with the Jabusch translation. I found that version in our hardbound Gather books.
I was struck by one particular difference in translations of the refrain, which I don't know enough Spanish to accurately comment on:
"all I longed for, I have found by the water" vs. "all I treasured, I have left on the sand there."
Both seem fitting for the stories of the call of the disciples; resolving the tension between the two may be at the core of discipleship.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Accutane and Birth Control

Contributed to a thread at Open Book on patients receving Accutane. Female patients are required to sign that they are using 2 forms of contraceptives, have negative pregnancy tests, etc. Lots of folks there are incensed that this makes Catholic women have to (1) lie, (2) use contraceptives in violation of their beliefs, (3) some combination of (1) & (2), plus (4) suspicions that this is all some ploy of "Big Drug Companies" to control our lives.

My 2 cents here. Summary: Accutane is dangerous. Do not lie to get it. Do not take it if you cannot take it as directed. Don't practice medicine without a license.

Update later on Jan 21:

Got feedback that included one person's saying:

If by [take] "as directed" you mean with a course of contraceptives, then no, I would not take it as directed. I could sign my name to a lie with no qualms. I answer to a higher power than the medical community. You may not consider that "honorable". C'est la vie.
Wow! No qualms about a no scruples about telling a lie to someone that would cause him/her to commit malpractice (whether or not civilly actionable.)

My response:

Christine asks: How about, "My two methods of birth control are abstaining, with NFP as a backup?" They don't specify that you have to sign on to two ARTIFICIAL methods of birth control.

The iPLEDGE site allowes for complete abstinence, but not for NFP, which it considers to be an "Unacceptable Form of Contraception" (p.19) (their words; don't shoot the messenger!!)

They also state: Abstinence. For this program, all female patients of childbearing potential must fully commit to pregnancy prevention. Abstinence without appropriate contraception is not recommended for patients in the iPLEDGE program who are or have been sexually active. Abstinence may be appropriate when it is a lifestyle choice (e.g., religious practice) and not just a social circumstance (e.g., not having a current partner). If, after counseling, a sexually active patient chooses abstinence without contraception, she must understand that isotretinoin is not recommended for any female patient of childbearing potential who cannot or will not follow the contraceptive requirements of the iPLEDGE program. All female patients of childbearing potential must receive contraception counseling.

This does allow for abstinence for women willing to commit to pre-marital chastity or TOTAL marital continence. The latter is not easy, and may not be reliable, given the extended periods (pun intended) over which therapy may last. Recall that Catholic spouses who commit to NFP are also commanded by their wedding vows to "embrace" the children that God sends. I would not think that this would allow for spouses to "fully commit to pregnancy prevention."

Accutane and the other versions of isotretinoin are only available from providers who are willing to meet all program guidelines, including enrolling patients in the iPLEDGE program, doing all mandatory counseling and testing; it can only be dispensed by pharmacies willing to provide the same counseling.

Your doctor, who also watches "House," knows that "everybody lies." Sadly, some Catholics have proven Dr. House correct.

There are plenty of other Black Box Warning drugs out there--I've taken one for 18 months or so, but only by being willing to follow the rules. Some of the requirements have been a major hassle, but I would never take it were I required to agree to (or pretend to agree to) a practice violating my beliefs. That's not any sort of self-righteousness; I hate the prospect of splitting hairs over degrees of when it is and is not OK to be's easier just to not pretend.
On that sort of a note, I learned earlier this week that a position in our agency for which I strongly considered applying (even though I really like my current job), a position that fit perfectly with my degrees, expertise, etc., was being changed. Instead of being a Child Health Nurse Consultant (what I did in NC for 8 years), the position now will be almost exclusively "family planning." I took it as further affirmation that I should stay where I am, and was grateful that I hadn't gotten my hopes up for a position that would now involve violating my beliefs. My "potential future boss" agreed.

That's that


Perfect season ended, the guys can relax now (after what will doubtless be a brutal practice session tomorrow...)

It's gotta be the black shoes

My boys are getting trounced by Georgetown (47 us, 60 them at 11:30 left in the 2nd half. They are wearing these clunky looking black shoes & socks--getting no traction, looking like they are mired to the floor.

Georgetown is in lightweight-looking white shoes & socks--and closing down our perfect season.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Degrees of Separation from Evil (song lyrics)

Contributed to a link on Open Book today that began with the question:

"Did you sing "Here I Am, Lord" today?

(Search for "cayce" from this page)

In reading others' comments I came across several posts condemning the use of two songs:

1. Lord of the Dance
2. Pescador des Hombres (Lord, You have come to the seashore)

This was more than the usual "I hate Schutte/Haugen/Haas music, plus guitars, plus all of the Vatican II changes, etc..." rant. Those are somewhat matters of theology, somewhat taste, and we often see the two conflated.

For Lord of the Dance, the objections were to apparent Gnostic theology that appears in the song. One post:

There is also Sydney Carter's "hymn" called "Lord of the Dance" that comes from the Gnostic Acts of John where Jesus leads a round dance and where, like in other Gnostic literature, Jesus merely puts on a show of crucifixion and, trickster magician-like, reveals that the real Jesus didn't die on the cross, but rather a surrogate, and the real Jesus "leaped up high."
Sydney Carter wrote "Lord of the Dance" inspired by Gustav Holst's musical setting of the explicitly Gnostic (and Docetic) "Acts of John," a work that was rejected by the Church early on. If you read the "Acts of John" you can clearly see why, and you can see how the "leaped up high" verse figured into the Docetic doctrine, along with the "trick" of substitution of the crucified figure. Holst himself was quite intrigued with the modern rediscovery of the occult, and was linked through family ties with Theosophists and astrologers (his lingering interest inspired his composition of "The Planets").

I'll admit to preferring the original Simple Gifts setting of this tune, and to feeling that the cheerful cadence/notes didn't fit well with "they whipped and they stripped and they hung me high." If it's true that the lyrics are heretical, and I'll leave it to those with better theological training to let me know this, then we shouldn't sing it.

A harder question arises with comments posted about Pescador des Hombres. I had thought some about this song lately, wondering if we'll sing it next Sunday when the Gospel tells us of Jesus calling Peter, James & John at the seashore. There's some lovely harmony possible on the refrain, and I've enjoyed the 2-3 times I've gotten to sing it.

Per St. Blog's posters, and confirmed by easy Google searches, the song's original Spanish lyrics by Cesáreo Gabaráin were translated by Robert C. Trupia. Trupia, a former priest, was laicized (defrocked) by the Diocese of Tuscon for sexual misconduct, including pedophilia. Some of the accusations come from recovered memories, but some of the behavior was witnessed, including by a housekeeper.

One strong opinion:
The original Spanish hymn was written by one Cesario Gabarain (an unobjectionable person, as far as I know) and Trupia wrote the English translation. There is another, less common translation out there by Willard Jabusch called "Lord, When You Came." (Jabusch is a writer of mediocre hymns like "The King of Glory" and "Whatsoever You Do," but, like Gabarain, not an immoral person as far as I know). I suppose this means that admirers of the hymn could salvage it for continued use by availing themselves of the Jabusch translation, but if you ask me, the hymn is so contaminated that it should be forgotten forever, starting immediately (italics mine.)
We're known by the company we keep. In separating myself from sin (not sinners, as we heard clearly this AM), do I have a responsibility NOT TO SING a song because the translator is tainted/evil? Should I only sing the Spanish lyrics? If no one knows the backstory, does it matter in performance? In worship? In the shower?

Months ago, I learned that lots of RC parishes around the country do not allow use of "The Wedding March" for weddings, because of the origins of the tune.

From Adoremus.
It has become really traditional to use the Bridal Chorus from Wagner's opera Lohengrin for the Procession, and the Wedding March from Mendelssohn's ballet Midsummer Night's Dream for the Recession. Observe the words "opera" and "ballet." Both of these marches were written for the theater stage. Both are fine pieces of music, but are tied into stories of fantasy, murder, sex, and other delights. Are they suitable for Catholic weddings? It should be an easy answer, but it is not. Back in the 1930s or so when the Society of Saint Gregory published its Black List and White List of Catholic Music, those marches were absolutely forbidden, sent to the Black List, and no more discussion, thank you. Today it is left to the local Ordinary (the head of your diocese). Some places have no restrictions, since that music has become so traditional, but some still forbid them. Some have made no statements one way or the other.
From the Diocese of San Diego.
The so-called traditional "wedding marches" by Wagner and Mendelssohn have nothing to do with the Sacred Liturgy and may not be used. In fact, the origin of these compositions borders on the profane and the ridiculous. The "Bridal Chorus" ("Here Comes the Bride") from Wagner's opera, Lohengrin, accompanies an illicit ceremony, a tragic bedroom fiasco. Mendelssohn's incidental music to Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream accompanies a farcical wedding. Even though they are frequently used in the United States in Protestant churches, they are rarely used in Catholic churches. For the above mentioned reasons, to use them in connection with a church ceremony is simply inappropriate.
These two songs, whose origins almost NO ONE knows, are banned because of their origins. Do we/should we do anything similar to songs whose composers, translators, covering artists, etc., are tainted? Inquiring minds need to know...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

You are John Paul, II

Reference from St. Jimbob of the Apocalypse:

John Paul II
You are Pope John Paul II. You are a force to be reckoned with.

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

So, besides recoiling at Quizilla's grammar gaffe, I wondered what would happen if I changed ONE answer, the one I was waffling on. Favorite household item from this list: egg timer, telephone, television, blender, window curtains, fireplace. If I changed from television to egg timer (and we have such a cute one!), I become...

Pius XII
You are Pope Pius XII. You're efficient and dedicated, but not very approachable.

Even though at parties, I am "surrounded by people who love [me]?"

Saturday, January 14, 2006 (but not at that URL)

Got directed here by GashwinThis lady is great!
Hightlights for me thusfar:
BOSTON -- Henry VIII's accomplishments, which include divorce, the dismantling of orphanages, murder, apostasy and setting up his own church, could all be the result of one thing: bad catechesis.
"Henry VIII, like many people in our own time, was simply ignorant of his own faith," said Thomas O'Malley, author of Don't Blame Me, Blame the Church. "After doing seven years of research, I learned a lot about the former monarch. One of the most shocking discoveries was that those who oversaw his religious education sort of blew it off most of the time. After I discovered this, I thought,'Good grief, how could he be expected to know beheading his wife was wrong?'"
What we've always suspected about the origin of Haugen/Haas music
In less time than it took him to order a Whopper with fries, Marty Haugen wrote the lyrics and melody yesterday for a new hymn he says is his best yet.

"'Gather Us In' has always been my personal favorite, but my newest hymn,'We are the Apples of Your Eye' really speaks from my heart, and the crazy thing is the words came to me while I was waiting in line at Burger King," Haugen said.
Home schoolers who learn Latin have strong political opinions
RALEIGH, NC -- Things went from bad to worse for Vice President Dick Cheney today when a North Carolina homeschooler scoffed at his decision to replace indicted chief-of-staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby with David Addington, the vice president's legal counsel.

"I can't believe he went for one of his cronies," said Jonathan Carter, a 10-year-old homeschooler, who posted a scathing indictment of the vice president on his blog, Middle-earth Mania, Yeah! "He should have tapped someone like Ralph Reed, who would have given him the ethical gravitas his office sorely needed."
Carter and his sisters, Sarah, 11; Leah, 7; and Rebecca, 6; currently study Latin, mathematics, and Bible.
and the best, so far...<drumroll>
"People have been trying to figure out what caused this devastation," said Dr. Phil Mixon, chief meterologist at NOAA. "Some believe it was caused by all the partying done at Mardi Gras, others blamed the huge Catholic population in New Orleans, and some attributed it to President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, but after careful research, we figured out that what actually caused the damage was just a really big hurricane."
It's not quite the Onion, but not bad.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Haiti: Death, Delay & Dilettantes

Read an email today about a friend from NC who's written a book on her experiences in Haiti.  They Suffer in Faith is compiled from stories she's heard on her several trips to Port au Prince, Fondwa & Belbedede (sp?).
Just about the same time, I've heard about Haiti twice in the news this week.
In its statement, MINUSTAH described Da Matta Bacellar as a "professional and honourable soldier" who had done "his utmost to uphold the right of the Haitian people to freely and fairly elect a president and government of its own choosing."
MINUSTAH (Mission des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haiti--a nearly hopeless task) is charged with everything from stabilizing the political climate, organizing elections, coordination of humanitarian aide, protecting human rights, establishing and assuring security, to AIDS education.  They cannot even get voter registration cards out! 
One can certainly understand Bacellar's despair.
2nd, the elections have once again been delayed. Given the disarray that was present before Artistide left/was removed (pick your political stance and whom you lest worry about angering), I cannot imagine that any election result will bring peace to those who are so angry in Cite' Soleil.  From the BBC:
Haiti - one of the poorest countries in the world - has been plagued by political and criminal violence.
In announcing the election's fourth postponement, Haiti officials said many of the country's 3.5 million registered voters had not received their electoral identification cards.
But the head of the OAS mission in Haiti, Denneth Modeste, said the cards had been ready in September, but election officials had asked the OAS to hold off distribution because polling stations had not yet been chosen.
The Electoral Council's Secretary-General, Rosemond Pradel, said last week he was sick of watching foreigners sit around spending money without achieving results.
Wow, isn't that telling...
The Provisional Electoral Council, on its website (let's talk about access to the web and/or regular electricity!) reminds Haitians that the wealth of a country resides in its people, that the future is [in] their hands, and urges them to vote.
La richesse d'un pays re'side dans ses gens
Le futur est entre votre mains
Un jour. Toutes les fois que nous circulons aux élections d'établissement du programme...
Lest we be overwhelmed with the hopelessness of it all, along comes this bright spot, via ABC news:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Jan 13, 2006 — Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt brought a rare dose of Hollywood glamour to this beleaguered Caribbean nation during a visit Friday.
The couple, who recently announced they are expecting a baby this summer, flew to Haiti from the neighboring Dominican Republic, where Jolie is filming the movie "The Good Shepherd," directed by Robert De Niro.
They traveled in a convoy through the capital of Port-au-Prince, protected by police and U.N. peacekeepers as crowds cheered them along the way.
Glad to see UN troops able to have some success in their mission.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Where have all the young girls gone?

From the 2nd verse, as I learned it from Peter, Paul & Mary:

Where have all the young girls gone,
Long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone,
Long time ago...?

Unlike the folk song, the little girls in India haven't "gone for husbands, everyone"--it's too expensive to get them husbands. 2nd & 3rd daughters were sacrificed so that their families could "try again" for a boy this time.

What must these mothers feel like, how degraded must they feel about themselves as women if they are willing to sacrifice their daughters merely because they are daughters -- and thus liabilities? I cannot imagine.

Search for the Historical Jesus

Got this link from Izzy, who described it as "blogworthy."

Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest.

An Italian judge has ordered a priest to appear in court this month to prove that Jesus Christ existed.

The case against Father Enrico Righi has been brought in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, by Luigi Cascioli, a retired agronomist who once studied for the priesthood but later became a militant atheist. Signor Cascioli, author of a book called The Fable of Christ, began legal proceedings against Father Righi three years ago after the priest denounced Signor Cascioli in the parish newsletter for questioning Christ's historical existence. ...

Signor Cascioli's contention -- echoed in numerous atheist books and internet sites -- is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith. There is therefore no basis for Christianity, he claims. ... He argued that all claims for the existence of Jesus from sources other than the Bible stem from authors who lived “after the time of the hypothetical Jesus” and were therefore not reliable witnesses.

Signor Cascioli maintains that early Christian writers confused Jesus with John of Gamala, an anti-Roman Jewish insurgent in 1st-century Palestine. Church authorities were therefore guilty of “substitution of persons.” The Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius mention a “Christus” or “Chrestus”, but were writing “well after the life of the purported Jesus” and were relying on hearsay.

Father Righi said there was overwhelming testimony to Christ’s existence in religious and secular texts. Millions had in any case believed in Christ as both man and Son of God for 2,000 years.

“If Cascioli does not see the sun in the sky at midday, he cannot sue me because I see it and he does not,” Father Righi said.

Signor Cascioli said that the Gospels themselves were full of inconsistencies and did not agree on the names of the 12 apostles. He said that he would withdraw his legal action if Father Righi came up with irrefutable proof of Christ’s existence by the end of the month. ...

The Vatican has so far declined to comment.

The article goes on to give a few records of Jesus' life, including the Gospels, Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, the mention of Jesus/Christus/Chrestus by Tacitus, Suetonius and in the Quran.

Fr. Righi spoke to Reuters:

... Righi, 76, sounded frustrated by the case and baffled as to why Cascioli -- who, like him, came from the town of Bagnoregio -- singled him out in his crusade against the Church. "We're both from Bagnoregio, both of us. We were in seminary together. Then he took a different path and we didn't see each other anymore," Righi said. "Since I'm a priest, and I write in the parish newspaper, he is now suing me because I 'trick' the people."

Apparently, “abuse of popular credulity” and “impersonation” are crimes in Italy. Do they have fewer televangelists?

There's plenty out there in cyberspace on the "fable of Jesus"--books, a quote (likely spurious) attributed to Pope Leo X, and plenty of angry websites.

I've thought about this a bit today, wondering a few things. On the surface, Signor Cascioli is , man aggrieved--his integrity has been called into question. Luigi, who refers to himself as the most courageous atheist of all times, is upset. Fortunately for the rest of the unsuspecting world out there, he's channeled his anger at the "true" fraud out there--all of Christendom. And why not? The Vatican (also the Illuminati, Tri-Lateral Commission and local PTA?) has profited from defrauding poor saps with some fable borrowed from ancient sources and cobbled together to "invent and impose a monotheistic cult for political aims."

But I cannot help but wonder what it is that fuels Cascioli's anger ... the anger of those who put up the "it's all a fake" websites? No scrap of documentary evidence, no millennia-old shroud or sandle strap or cross fragment--no matter how well authenticated, will make any difference. No unbroken tradition of centuries of passing along the "old, old story" will make a difference. No personal testimony, hagiography, miracle or vision will make a difference.

Cascioli is convinced by his own reading of history, and by his logical conclusions, that there cannot have been a historical person named Jesus from Nazareth (plenty of other Joshuas back then, just not this one) whose followers transformed the world after his death.

Cascioli is no disinterested student of history--somehow (I infer) he was hurt, disappointed, disillusioned. God did not reveal Himself--therefore, He is not.

Casioli has big plans: "following a court sentence, the great fraud of Christianity will be banned from society." His book "besides determining the end of Christianity, will also cause the other two monotheist religions (Judaism and Islam) and all the other religions, based on similar irrational fairy-tales, to totter."

No matter what Fr. Righi presents to the court, no matter how the judge rules, Sr. Casioli will remain convinced of Jesus' "inexistence." Unlike the Jesus Seminar that disbelieves >80% of what is attributed to Jesus, Sr. Casioli is left with nothing of the religion into which he was baptized, in which he was raised, and whose precepts he originally planned to teach.

Writing in the 14th century, Walter Hilton, and Augustinian cannon penned in "The Scale of Perfection,"

A heretic sins mortally in pride because he chooses his resting place and his delight in his own opinion and in what he says, and he supposes it to be true. That opinion and word is against God and holy chuch; and therefore he sins mortally in pride, for he loves himself and his own will and wit so much that he will not leave it even though it is plainly against the ordinance of holy church; but he wants to rest in it, as if in the truth, and thus he makes it his god. But he deceives himself, for God and holy church are so united and agreed together that whoever acts against the one is acting against both.

Sr. Casioli would deny heresy, saying he is devoted to the truth. It's tragic that he has, somehow, lost his faith in the One who is via, veritas et vita.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

82-64 (Blue Devils)

Now, on to play Maryland at Cameron on Wednesday.

My Other "Religion"

We've now completed the seasons of Advent and Christmastide, concluding with today's belated celebration of the Epiphany.

So what's next?

ACC Basketball! We've begun our liturgies with Duke (#1, 13-0) at Wake Forest (#23, 11-2.) Blue Devils vs. Demon Deacons. Records mean little in ACC games, where every player is psyched from his high school recruiting days to hate Duke, and the crowds are out for blood.

Expect a tight game. (46-39 at the half....)

The King, part 2

In other news, on this Sunday when Doc and I got to do the CD version of "We Three Kings" (great guitar, btw), Izzy reminds me that it's also "The King" Day--being what would have been the King's 71st bday.

This, THIS, is Christ the King

"What Child is This?" is such a a great song for Epiphany. First, there's the 3rd verse that begins:

..."So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh; come peasant, king to own Him..."

Second, when it's used for Communion, as we did this morning, there will be people who hear, as they are presented with Christ's Body or His Precious Blood:

..."This, THIS is Christ the King..."

How great is THAT? Sometimes things just come together wonderfully.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Zeta equals Omega--it's over




Gotta love these guys.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Woe unto you"

One more post for tonight--alert via Drudge.

So, Iran's President is praying for the death of Ariel Sharon. Not surprising.
"Hopefully, the news that the criminal of Sabra and Chatilla has joined his ancestors is final," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency.
How does one get to be a semi-official news agency?

And the Rev. Robertson has figured out why Sharon had his stroke
US evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for "dividing God's land" of Israel, igniting his latest trademark controversy.

As the Israeli prime minister battled for life, Robertson seemed to suggest to viewers on his "700 Club" television show that Sharon was being punished for his policies in Gaza and the West Bank.

"The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' God considers this land to be his.

"You read the Bible, he says, 'This is my land.' And for any prime minister of Israel who decides he's going carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No. This is mine.'"

Robertson, who frequently provokes outrage with his remarks, said he was "sad" to see Sharon fall sick, and that he was a "very likeable person."

"I prayed with him personally. But here he is at the point of death. He was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or the United States of America."

"God said, 'This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.'"

Robertson also appeared to suggest former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, murdered in 1995, had also paid the ultimate price for talking peace.

"He was tragically assassinated, and it was terrible thing that happened, but nevertheless, he was dead."

(Accuracy note: The quotes are real. Everything--even the "woe unto..." They come from 9 minutes through 10 minutes 20 seconds into the 700 Club broadcast for 1-5-06, available here for the next 15 days.)
Yes, Pat, these "terrible things" happen in your world where God is a gangster dealing out vengeance, and strokes comes from political decisions, rather than from a few to many latkes.

God can take care of His people without Woodie Guthrie lyrics. And without your heresy.

Orthodox/Catholic Dialogue

Visiting this heavily Greek community northwest of Tampa for the annual Feast of the Epiphany celebration, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I told reporters that the pope plans an official visit sometime this year to his headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey.

"We are in very good relationships with the present pope, Benedict XVI, and I'm in the very happy position to announce to you that we are going to restart the dialogue on the international global level between the Orthodox church and the Roman Catholic church," Bartholomew said in Greek through an interpreter, Archbishop Demetrios, who is primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.

The last official talks between two churches five years ago broke off without an agreement on theological issues that have divided them for almost 1,000 years.

Bartholomew had received a warm reception from the Vatican after inviting the pope to Turkey for the Feast of St. Andrew in November. But they were subtly rebuffed when the government of primarily Muslim Turkey, instead of approving the visit, issued its own invitation to Benedict for an unspecified date in 2006.

Because Benedict is also the head of state of the Vatican, any visit to Turkey would need to be coordinated with the Turkish government.

Bartholomew said Thursday that "within this year that has already begun, the new pope is going to visit officially the ecumenical patriarchy."

Both the current patriarch and the current pope appear deeply committed to bridging the rift between their estranged churches and helping to unite two of the largest branches of Christianity.
Izzy, as an Eastern-leaning Catholic would certainly welcome reconciliation.

Parallel Stages of Losing

I was up late Tuesday night, and caught an Internet headline about 12 miners being found.  I immediately switched away from Letterman and headed to CNN.  Multi-tasking, I flipped between the three big cable news channels and all their websites.  Everyone seemed to be saying the same thing--that after having no hope (bad news from air sampling), then deeper despair with some acceptance of the gravity of their situation (when the first miner was discovered near the rail car), they were now rejoicing after having been given a miracle in the survival of 12 of the 13. 
I watched for about an hour, and noticed a couple things that concerned me, but I didn't want to dwell on inconsistencies.  I kept waiting for the cut-away from the well-lighted reporters to the shot of officials in front of a bank of microphones, the flood lights at the mine entrance, the flashing lights on vehicles shown through long lenses, anything grainy.  None of that appeared.  We've been programmed to look for it--I recall watching the vehicles, lights, officials ,and machinery as Baby Jessica was rescued from the well, and every rescue I've watched since then has had the same elements.
Still, even with the missing elements, I found I was still surprised when I heard "the truth" in the morning. 
As I saw and heard about the families' reactions, I was struck with how similar their compressed experiences were to the experiences of so many families during a loved one's terminal illness. 
When my Dad was first diagnosed with cancer, we each experienced the concussive blow (explosion) of shock as we were made to face his mortality.  The possibility had always been there--just like the miner who reminded his wife each day of his devotion in case he didn't come home.  We had just never had to use words about weeks, months or even hours before.
As soon as he explosion happened, men and equipment were pressed into service.  Things MUST BE DONE.  My Dad began 24/7 chemo, several weeks of radiation  and surgery (1st cancer in 2002), then surgery, followed by radiation (2nd cancer of 2002.)  We wanted to believe that all these resources would change the outcome--they did delay it, and we are grateful.  Families saw equipment moving, and holes being drilled--maybe there would be air--maybe there was still hope.
Note:  There's nothing wrong with hope, and I prayed like the rest of America for a miracle. I've just be struck by the similarities.
After some period of getting used to thinking that things will improve, or that things will at least not get worse, there's often some shock.  For us, it was the morning when, after gradual weakening to which we'd become accustomed, Dad had a grand mal seizure.  Things were truly grave, and we knew that he would soon leave us.  For the WVa families, I think that reality hit with the confirmation of the first death.  They gathered together, sobbed and tried to console each other, expecting to soon hear the worst.
Over the years since I first worked on an oncology floor, I've seen the phenomenon of "the miracle."  Sometime just shortly before an individual dies, there is a stirring, an improvement, a delay in the inevitable.  I once saw a bedridden man get up, dress himself (put coat on over his hospital gown) and shuffle towards the hospital exit--pushing his IV pole.  My Dad became just a bit more talkative, made a few jokes, and was able to give a bit of himself to each of us as we sat with him in the week before he died.  The families in the Baptist church got a gift of a few hours of "they-aren't-dead" time, time they hadn't expected to have and time that hurt so much when it ended. 
Their anger was raw; mine came later when I would consider time we hadn't had with Dad,  time Dad and Mom hadn't had together.   Time slowly lessens the intensity of the pain, and I pray that the miners' families will also experience the comfort of God--away from the spotlight.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Where'd everything go?

Test post to see if the rest of the content can be recovered. Blogger is only showing part of one post from yesterday when I load the site.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Our 12 days of Christmas

At the end of December, the "holidays" brought to me...
A dozen kids in a pageant
11 days not working
a ninety-six year old's funeral
an eighty dollar battery 
7 nights of movies
60 stamps for letters
4 Christmas Masses
3 migraines
2 meals with Mom
and a birthday party for a nephew. 
12.  There were 30 of us at Mom's for Christmas Eve, with lots of kids, most of whom were shepherds, angels, Mary & Joseph, lighting technician, etc. The "dozen" number isn't exactly right, but it's artistic license, already.
11.  And only had to use 3 annual leave days!
10.  We enjoyed going to Forest Pines for caroling, with cocoa and a cookie exchange at our house afterwards. 
9.  My SIL (wife of B3) lost her grandmother (the family matriarch) on the Wednesday after Christmas.  She had lived a long life, faithfully serving God, and will be missed by all of us in her extended family.
8.  The dead battery led to us riding the motorcycle in the funeral procession.
7.  Izzy and I had a great relaxing break, watching old (B&W) movies, plus catching up on stuff we hadn't seen before. 
6.  OK, I only mailed 50 Christmas letters, but we'll use the rest of the stamps before the next rate hike happens.
5.  Ralph Stanley came to Bill's Pickin Parlor with the Clinch Mountain Boys (there are 5 of them.)  Ralph has had a tough year, and the Boys carried most of the show.  I'm glad we got to see him, even if he wasn't in full voice.  They just don't make 'em like they usta.
4.  We did Christmas Eve at 5 PM and midnight and Christmas Day at 11 AM.  New Year's Day also counts as a Christmas Season Mass (I LOVE having the season be longer than just one day!)
3.  Only 3.
2.  The 2nd being a delightful dinner with her at our house last night for pizza (thin crust with garlic, Locatelli romano, sun-dried and fresh tomatoes and feta cheese.)  It's fun being able to cook as a team, and I think Izzy, Mom and I did a good job together.
1.  Only 1.  We missed the slumber party for the newest 7 year old, but got to go to the 11 year old's which featured a cookout (hot dogs AND s'mores, a hayride, shooting competitions, and lots of climbing on Uncle Izzy by the kids.
8-track & MP3 versions available on request.

Dave Barry's Year in Review

Start HERE for a light-hearted look at the past year.
Spoiler Alert:  Don't read July if you've not yet finished the most recent Harry Potter Book (Harry Potter Must Be Like 32 Years Old By Now.)
Sense of Humor Deficit Alert:  Don't read at all if you are particulary fond of Greta Van Susteren or Joe Biden (or cannot take a joke)
In Rome, the College of Cardinals gathers following the death of beloved Pope John Paul II. As the world waits breathlessly, the cardinals, after two days of secret deliberations, order white smoke to be sent up the Sistine Chapel chimney, signaling that they have made their decision: Robert Blake is definitely guilty.
. . the Runaway Bride story totally dominates the news, becoming so gigantically huge that some cable-TV news shows are forced to divert precious resources from the Michael Jackson trial.
The U.S. Senate reaches an agreement ending a stalemate over the confirmation of Bush-appointed judges, thus avoiding the so-called ''nuclear option,'' under which Sen. Joe Biden would be allowed to ask a question, thereby shutting the federal government down for months.
In disturbing medical news, a new study of 1,000 Americans finds that obesity in the United States has gotten so bad that there actually were, upon closer scrutiny, only 600 Americans involved in the study.
Regarding Katrina:
For several days chaos reigns, with most of the relief effort taking the form of Geraldo Rivera, who, by his own estimate, saves more than 170,000 people.
The hurricane season, which has produced so many storms that the National Weather Service is now naming them after fraternities, ...yet another hurricane, Kappa Sigma Gamma, forms in the South Atlantic, threatening to blast the U.S. mainland with a load of energy that, according to the National Hurricane Center, is the equivalent of 17 trillion six-packs of Bud Light.
Happy Reading.

The End of the Spear

Like most of the Baptist kids I grew up with, being a missionary was the ultimate calling, and the one you had to explain not doing before you could consider any other career.  We read Through Gates of Splendor and Jungle Pilot and imagined a life in the jungle with Wycliffe
[Izzy and I spend quite a few years expecting to be part of SIL before God slammed the door for us.  Took several closings before we got the message.]
Looking forward to a new movie coming out this month: The End of the Spear.  (Be patient; their website may take a bit to load.)  I also found a blog collection by the son of Nate Saint, one of the missionaries killed in the Amazon jungle by tribesmen who were later converted to Christianity by the witness of the widows and children of these men.
It turns out that January 8 will be the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully and Roger Youderian.  I'm looking forward to seeing the movie--hoping it will focus on mercy and forgiveness, rather than on murder.  More once it opens.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy Birthday, Izzy!

Bday greetings to a special New Year's baby. He's gotten several calls from family and even dear friends from Tx (who are dipping their toes in the Tiber!) Izzy's M-i-L dropped by with an autographed book from Dad's library. Not bad for a day only 1/2 over, with three more presents to unwrap.

To his peril, though, and disregarding a perfectly good southern tradition, I don't think Izzy will be having any collard greens today. He might seek good luck via Polish Sausage and sauerkraut, as this will apparently also prevent bird flu ;-)

Happy Bday again, dearest.