Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Olds and me

Life is different here. Last evening, heralding the approach of driving rain with stiff breeze and a continuous and brilliant electrical display of lightning over the Gulf, which we watched from 7H porch. Predawn this morning, with a blast the fire alarm siren goes off and its announcement "An emergency ... Do not use the elevator". 

Between all that, a decent night's sleep. Up to sacrifice to Father Nature once soon after midnight and back to sleep, all is well and Life has been Good.

From the gospel of Luke this coming Sunday, the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican,
Luke 18:9-14,

Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a publican (tax collector). The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this publican. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' But the publican, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'" 

I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other, for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.


His self-aware humility does not make the publican a good man, but a forgiven man, being "justified" means that he is declared righteous even though he isn't righteous. 

The Pharisee is living in accord with God's will as he understands it, believing that he must do certain things to earn God's love, and as he has checked all the boxes, he gives himself an A+. He devotes his life to trying to please God, and his selfrighteous pride is quite human for us sons of Adam. All else he might need to do is pray "What else do I need to do?" But he doesn't.  

As both men are sinners, both have good qualities. Perhaps their complimenting good qualities would equal human perfection, IDK. Before I praise and emulate the Publican I'll wonder whether he sins all day every week then every Sabbath comes to temple for confession and absolution?

My question is unanswerable, because the parable is not offered from history but as a story with a point, Jesus meaning us to "get it" and act accordingly. The Pharisee will go on believing he is doing everything possible to make his life pleasing to God. Tomorrow morning will the Publican go back to his tax booth? Of course he will, it's a good living. So will everyone in church who says the Confession of Sin and watches as the priest waves the sign of the Cross in Absolution; I mean, there's always next Sunday.

The cycle is Creation, Sin, Judgment, Repentance, Redemption. Now and then at Children's Time, our rector shows us the literal meaning of "Repent". It's quite specific. Turning around and going in the opposite direction doesn't include going back to the tax booth tomorrow morning.

Ah well ...


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Do you think we'll have rain?

In a tropical cyclone as disorganized as any I recall, a few miles off the coast, the non-center of circulation of TS Nestor* may have shifted slightly right overnight, and NHC's track line seems headed just east of Indian Pass, maybe across 13 Mile, with beloved Apalachicola getting the most rain.

As is said, we needed the rain. 

"Do you think we'll have rain?" Puddleglum the marsh-wiggle** says in classic English style of conversational diversion to Jadis, the Lady of the Green Kirtle, not knowing her mysterious traveling companion and protector is himself the missing Prince Rilian whom Aslan gave Jill Pole (and Eustace Scrubb) the mission to find and rescue, as his father King Caspian is aged and Narnia urgently needs the crown prince.

Jadis assists them with directions to the City of Giants for the Fall Feast (where they would be the prized delicacy, the main dish, the featured pièce de résistance). And yes, we're having hard rain, in fact it rained all night here. A bit of wind, from the north, as it's puddling on the sidewalk and our Beck Avenue front porch, but insignificant on 7H porch. 

A disciple or Pat Robertson at it again, did someone pray PTC Sixteen become TS Nestor* off to the east? 



* Never knew anyone named Nestor, but https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestor_(mythology) I suppose it could now become 2020's most popular name for a boy? Girl?

** In the Chronicles of Narnia book "The Silver Chair", marsh-wiggles have green-grey straw-like hair, large ears, long legs and arms, webbed hands with long fingers, and hard webbed feet like those of ducks. They have a maddish complexion and and greenish skin.   

Friday, October 18, 2019


"Tropical system to strengthen on approach to Florida". See, this isn't exactly what we hope for from October 

and November, but it's what we anticipate. Where anticipate means expect it and prepare for it. 

These things can wobble, and significantly, or even change course, but don't count on it unless you are to the right or left of the line, and then certainly do count on it and prepare. 

As of right now the line crosses PCB into Breakfast Point tomorrow morning, looks like about 6 AM Saturday. We'll bring inside all our light things, keep watch, and if it stays a low-wind force tropical storm the wrought iron furniture may stay out on the porches. I may sit outside and watch it unless the rain is blowing this way - - which, coming from the right side, it should. 

A sad thing is many people in Bay County are still living in tents from HMichael a year ago. Worse would be high winds, because Bay County is loaded with clusters of travel trailers, and not tied down, families who still have no homes to return to. I expect a lot of cheap rental property was uninsured last year, the owners have no money for repairs, 

or maybe "took the insurance money and ran", either because it wasn't enough to do the repairs, or because it was more than they could have gotten on the market 9 Oct 2018, or because contractors and materials have been unavailable

including there's a "mansion" or two on West Beach Drive where the place is obviously vacant and nothing has been done except, in the last couple weeks, the front yard mowed, perhaps by the City, IDK.

Wednesday driving over to Apalachicola, and yesterday driving home, we again saw the damage on the east side of HMichael. Countless thousands of pine trees that were standing hopefully, even defiantly, after the storm are going brown, dying and dead.

Many buildings, especially noticed churches, are ruined and cannot be used unless and until repaired and brought up to current building codes. Someone said the concrete block brick veneer 1st UMC right on the bay in Port St Joe must be raised four feet. How the aitch are you going to raise a concrete block building four feet without it crumbling? Looks like pulling down and starting over?

Over and back, much ruin still in Mexico Beach, although the cleared beach on the Gulf side of US98 looks better than it has in decades. Private property rights may prevail, but that long stretch should be public and left naturally beautiful as we saw it this week.

Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison 
Kyrie eleison

Knock knock. Hello?


Thursday, October 17, 2019


Fall back, Spring ahead, no time change until Joe's birthday, Sunday, November 3, but Fall is in evidence this our first morning cooler outside than inside, 60F and dropping to 58F before the sun shows face.

Last evening the moon over Scipio Creek and Apalachicola River & Bay from our screen porch 

got several shots

and I may

show several

before getting to one I like.

What made the moon so orange, IDK, but it was.

At Trinity Church, installation of the new rector liturgy with Holy Communion last evening. We came over early for late dinner/early supper, oysters (farmed oysters and as delicious as ever) at The Station that in our Time here was Pendleton's, don't recall but by the sign on the wall must have been, Gulf station. Everyone eating there looked local but who knows.

After the service we went to an old friend's house for visit and, even though they'd finished supper, martinis and memories.

Hoping nothing comes of this, but there it is, and the instant forecast. It is too early to tell who specifically will feel the impacts. The European model shows the low-pressure system moving into Louisiana and the American model shows it moving into the Florida panhandle.

Life is Good and I love Apalachicola as much as ever. As mentioned here from time to time, my recollection's vague, but Gina remembers once, maybe late 1940s, our family driving over here to look at houses for possible moving, relocation to Apalachicola. How different every bit, inch and ounce of life would have been. Not unlikely I'd have worn white boots instead of a white collar.



Wednesday, October 16, 2019

we're on our way - - to Apalachicola F-L-A

It's 80°F out here and, with 83% humidity that's a bit muggy, still a lovely morning at 7H. Sound of waves lapping up onto the shore seven stories below, so breakfast outside on the porch. 

Mug of black from my magic machine, three slices toasted extra thin 40 cal whole wheat bread and my last bit of incomparable Holy Nativity pork butt, the rector's lunch for the Highlanders marching band from Indiana that played in our 10:30 worship service last Sunday morning. Yes, a highschool marching band in church, the very best the Episcopal Church can be. 

The pork doesn't need it, needs only an open salivating mouth, but out of compulsion, TJ's sriracha with roasted garlic bbq sauce mixed with mayo to cut the heat and spooned on top, then forked onto the toast bite by bite.

Ship passing right now just off 7H porch, heading east.

Clouds coming over, with black bottoms, and the temperature seems to be dropping in the cool breeze that seems to be coming with the clouds; and yes, 78°F now and, hopefully, dropping. 

One bite of toast left, which I'll cover with a spoonful of the German strawberry fruit spread bought yesterday in the TAFB commissary after my haircut. Why go to the barbershop at Tyndall, because - - though I say just a light trim, the barbers seem obsessed to go with military white sidewalls - - after what HMichael did to the base, now decimated population and mission, barbershop needing custom, the place seems deserted, ruined buildings being demolished, and no contractor population here to help rebuild because there're no homes for incoming folks to rent. Everyone at TAFB needs encouragement; and quite frankly, so do I. 

Meeting the City of Parker sign upon coming back across Tyndall Bridge, I wondered what HMichael did to the population of this ruined town, and Callaway and Springfield: seem to be no livable houses, townhomes, or apartment complexes left, just ruin.

Sudden driving rain now, shot of the ship now in the far channel, heading west and making for The Pass.

Remembering that this is my blog where I can and do write what I DWP and like it or lump it, thoughts bring me full half-circle back to The Subject. Of the past twelve months and fuming, Cat5 HMichael.

As opposed to the thumbs up, smiley face, keep a stiff upper lip crowd of cheery optimists, myself has been and written on the side and from the viewpoint of those of us whom the hurricane crushed. Emotionally, morally, theologically. Physically. Many economcally, financially. Someone said that in Bay County two-thousand-five-hundred schoolchildren are still living in tents today, a year after HMichael. So, I'm on their side, write from their hearts and frame of mind, and mine. Someone seemed puzzled by my post "from all Your sins" in which every capital Y stands for the Divinity and the blame seems placed squarely on. Can I be mad at God whom my theology always insists "did not do this"? 

In modern Time, "seeing" God is anchored in the holocaust memory, not sure but I think Elie Wiesel recorded it, in which a crowd in the concentration camp barracks had been forced outside to witness another murder, a hanging. In which someone phrased the question "Where is God NOW?" and someone else said "There. There he is," pointing to the nine year old boy on the scaffold, still twitching and jerking as he strangled to death at the end of the rope. Can we be angry with God? Mighty damn right we can. And for all the evil that has come about, both at the hands of humans created in His image (read Joshua) and at the hands of Father Nature, since the Word first said "Let there be."

This is not to say that God wills the tragedies that come upon us, which'd be blasphemy of the first order, for, Lamentations 3:31-33 KJV, "the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict nor willingly grieve the children of men". Nevertheless, if and as the Creator brought all things into being, including our free will in His image, as it is said, "God is in control", then He who gives us the beautiful spring days of life for which we thank and praise Him, is also responsible for life's darkness. 

A book, a favorite little book I've written about here from time to time, I bought in the early 1980s in the bookstore at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, where I was a student seminarian at the Time, is by Father Pierre Wolff, then a Jesuit priest* titled "May I Hate God?" It is, as advertised, "A compassionate book addressed to those who have suffered pain or senseless loss" and has been a help to me ever since. HMichael left me in a fury, and needing someone to blame. God, as Fr Wolff said, is of such unconditional Grace as to offer Himself as needed by us His creatures, lovingly to suffer our anger, rage, hate; in the theology of the Cross, crucified again and again and again; only to return in unending love when the skies clear and our Sunday comes. All this in mind, I can let HMichael go and, as I said earlier, move on with my own Time. 

This is, I think, a true theology of Grace, not intimidated fear but love divine.


* https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/pierre-wolff-obituary?pid=188048772


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

15, 4 & two?

When a place is special, it's special, as is the osprey nest at Boulder County Fairgrounds, Longmont, Colorado special. I got a picture of the osprey nest yesterday, empty, vacant and abandoned by its 2019 family, who have migrated somewhere far away for the Time being

And I'll check back from time to time to see if more trees realize that autumn, fall has come. But who would have guessed there's a Cattail Pond where fishing is special, for kids only. 

As for me, I seem to have misread a map I looked at sometime in the past year, when I said the fairgrounds, nest and camera were beside a creek, stream or river

when evidently the location is a pond, loaded with fish for the osprey in season

and for young fisherfolk year round.

This property cared for by friends of Boulder County Open Space Osprey Cam.

There was only one car in the fairgrounds on that day, a red sedan. Cars look pretty much alike these days, who can tell what brand or make it is? Hyundai? Subaru? Kia?

some Saturdays and Sundays I've "been there" when the parking lot was filled with cars. This day, one car - - probably out for a ride, or fishing, a couple of young lovers 15 and under. IDK.



Sunday, October 13, 2019

another Foreigner

In this morning's gospel story, Luke (17:11-19) writes that as Jesus enters a village on his way to Jerusalem, ten lepers approach him crying out, "Ἰησοῦ ἐπιστάτα, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς", "Jesus, master, have mercy on us". Sometimes in Luke, Jesus is called epistata, which acknowledges someone's authority. Not the same as calling him lord, teacher, sir, rabbi.

Jesus sends the lepers to the priests to show that they are healed so they can be declared clean. Of the ten, only one turns back to thank Jesus. As foreigners accepting the gospel is an important element of Luke's agenda, he points out that the one grateful man is a Samaritan. 

Remember, in Luke, Jesus is recognied by other foreigners, and Luke reports Jesus telling the Parable of the Good Samaritan; which is not a story encouraging Luke's audience to go and do likewise, but a story with the surprising and perhaps unwelcome news that those we hate are our neighbors, and may be better neighbors than those we like.  

Everything in a Bible story has a point. No words are wasted. In today's story, presumably the other nine were Jews? Galileans? IDK, maybe they were all Samaritans, Luke doesn't say, he just singles out the appreciative one and makes sure we know about this one who, unlike Jesus' Jewish brethren, wasn't expected or supposed to recognize Jesus.

What's the point of Luke's story? 

Part of it has to do with Luke's connecting Jesus with Jerusalem from the beginning of his gospel right through to the end. 

There is always gratitude or its lack.

Some preachers, with today's sermon in this traditional fall stewardship season when we encourage people to commit to tithe and turn in a pledge card, may make a point that touches on guilt for people who are not appreciative of the Lord's lovingkindness. 

To me, the story doesn't have anything to do with guilt. Luke is upholding those, here complete foreigners, who accept Jesus as epistata, Master. And we will see that it's a far different story when Jesus gets to Jerusalem, where one might reasonably have expected Jesus to be acclaimed by his brethren.

The other thing, which may be my topic in Sunday School unless someone comes with something else they want us to discuss, is the several stories in the synoptics about Jesus and lepers. Starts in Mark chapter 1. Or, possibly in an obscure noncanonical document called the Egerton Gospel.

About the art, a favorite, and I love that they paint Jesus wearing red. From online:

Vie de Jesus Mafa (Life of Jesus Mafa) was an initiative undertaken in the 1970s to help teach the gospel in Northern Cameroon. French Catholic missionary François Vidil worked with Mafa Christian communities in Cameroon to create an enormous catalogue of paintings depicting the life of Jesus as an African man. The plan was to build a resource that would help Mafa people to teach from the bible in a way that connects with their community.

The Life of Jesus Mafa took a long time to produce. Vidil formed a team of local church leaders, theologians and a carefully selected artist. The team would spend time in Mafa communities, reading bible passages and getting people to reenact them. Vidil and his team would photograph their reenactments as the artist sketched sketched them. These sketches and photographs became the basis of the final paintings in this collection. What an amazing way to produce art for the sake of mission!

The collection includes more than 70 scenes, which covers pretty much every story from all four Gospels.