Wednesday, May 24, 2017

thunder wednesday

Thunder, flight of pelicans close heading east, an osprey just flew by clutching a fish, breakfast for self or perhaps brood and mate. Lightning, streaks of lightning in the Gulf off BayPoint and Thomas Drive, all in all a beautiful morning out here on 7H porch. Loving it.

Medium to large ship arriving in the pass, now directly across the Bay from me, in rain so heavy she has disappeared from sight. Driving rain on me now, but maybe I can snap a picture of the ship as she passes 7H in the near channel. Rain clearing through now, and, still heading east, she’s stopped in the far channel just short of the hairpin turn where she’ll come round and head west, then south just off 7H, and on to the Port. Swinging now, looks to be at anchor? Watch and see, “watchful waiting,” one of the “treatments” offered for prostate cancer. More pelicans.

What will become of this cranial mass of all these thoughts, wonderings, wishings and intense feelings in my head when I’m gone? I might or might not prefer, but don’t really believe that romantic vision of backing that Olds Cutlass out of the garage out on the back alley border of my property and driving it across the sky into eternity.

She’s hoisted anchor now, has made the hairpin, heading my way. There she goes, WWW.OSLOBULK.COM read the letters down her starboard hull as she glides by. Medium size 355x61 arriving to load kraft liner, thence to Limon. 

Bream, pan fried bream for breakfast, warming in the oven, bream and cheese grits.  

DThos+ somewhere downstream in +Time+

storm clouds 201705240625CDT 

wind and wave stripes in heavy rain out window, below Bay chair

oslobulk nearing Courtney Point in rainstorm

sunset 20170523 from PB407

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Blue Slippers

God has gone up with a shout, 
the Lord with the sound of the ram’s-horn.

For some reason, possibly my book of the moment, love songs from the WWI era are on mind. This morning I listened to one bit of melancholia, this one played by a group of old men called, most appropriately for my stage of life, the dmentias
followed by Bing Crosby and Patti Page. Who besides me remembers Patti Page (1927-2013) - - dancing cheek to cheek songs on the jukebox. Would I go back? How, why, and what for? Of “going” my only interest at the moment might be Amtrak to Maine because the 2008 trip there missed BroadBay, a town of some five thousand now called Waldoboro, where Andreas Wäller settled from Germany in the 1700s. Other than that going or going back, I no thank you. 

The above verse is why, on Ascension, we generally sing, say, or responsively read Psalm 47, “God has gone up with a shout.” Seemingly a bit divergent, Luke varyingly has Jesus ascending either Easter evening (Luke 24) or forty days later (Acts 1) and ten days before Shavuot, to celebrate God’s giving the Law to Moses, which Greek-speaking Jews called Pentecost. Works for me either date though I wonder whether Theophilus noticed and called Luke on it. In this art from an 1100s book of psalms, Jesus feet disappear as The Eleven and BVM with halo look on worshipfully. Mary usually wears blue, but pink here, tallest and center for prominence. Blue slippers.

Top pic: our Tuesday morning and blasting wind.


Monday, May 22, 2017


Cloud and skywise, spring 2017 has been blah, with humidity that, even with pleasant temperature, hits with a blast when the porch door is slid open. I’ll take it anyway.

Cause not yet determined, tv news reports of Saturday’s raging grassfire. I’m guessing someone in the pool area flicked a cigarette and beat a hasty retreat. Or a walker along the sand strip at the shoreline. That’s only my guess, and my only guess unless it was a resident from a porch who, if so, should be evicted permanently. The world is long changed, some for the better some not, but I remember that, when we moved to Japan in 1963 and were subjected to hours of briefings, both in Japanese language and Japanese culture, we were told that under Japan law, with all the paper and light wood construction in Japanese homes, fire was a threat and enormous fear and that anyone who started a fire in a neighborhood was subject to the death penalty. It was because fire in such neighborhoods could cause untold injury and families burning to death. 

In adult Sunday school yesterday we talked at some length, because folks pursued it, about Paul’s opening words to the Areopagus (Acts 17:22), varying by translation:

Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. (NRSV)

Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. (KJV)

Ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, κατὰ πάντα ὡς δεισιδαιμονεστέρους ὑμᾶς θεωρῶ·

δεισιδαιμονεστέρους can mean to be very religious, religious fear, to be very superstitious, to respect a deity, or literally broken apart, to dread a demon. Our issue was whether, after touring the city and being nonplussed at all the religious shrines, Paul was criticizing the Athenians. Although the sense of it varies by translation, I think not. I think Paul, with his missionary zeal, was cleverly taking advantage of their obvious religious bent to introduce the unnamable Hebrew One God Creator of All Things, who had raised Jesus from the dead and who was fixin’ to send him back as ruler of God’s eschatological realm on earth. I think Paul was too wise not to take advantage of the situation, and used subtle flattery, not criticism. And in fact, he seems to have converted a few of the people who where there that day, including two who are named.

On the walk this morning, we were talking about dreams, and our thought that bladder urgency seems to stir bad dreams; which is indeed my experience. In a recurring dream of mine, I am in a car, as driver, generally Linda’s car which has the backup camera. I’ve put the car in reverse, am backing up, press the brake pedal to halt, but the car goes faster and faster, backing up, speeding faster and faster in reverse and i can’t stop it. At some point of sheer panic, I think to move the shift lever to neutral, and do so, but still cannot stop the car. Driving in reverse at speed, and increasing speed, and without brake control to stop, using mainly the reverse camera screen to steer around potholes and other cars, makes for a most harrowing dream. Waking urgently at 2:38 this morning, my first thought was to beat the s… out of Father Nature and you should pardon my French.

Short walk, short visit with Paul who was setting up teacher parking cones, and with a teacher. School’s out at Friday noon. What do I remember? My happiest moments at Cove School: with my “passed and promoted” report card in hand, watching the clock move slowly toward the minute at which summer vacation began.

Stopped along EBeachDrive to watch and hear water lapping ashore

DThos+ well along in +Time+!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Becoming Christ

Jesus said the first commandment is this: “Shema, Yisrael, Adonai Elehenu, Adonai echod,” Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second commandment is this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” This is the Mind of Jesus Christ. I shall speak of Becoming Christ. You may be seated.


Genesis 1:1f, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved over the face of churning chaos. And God said “Let there be light,” and there was light. And whatever God said, it was so.

If you have been to Athens, Greece, where St Paul was two thousand years ago this morning, you know the Areopagus both as Mars Hill, the huge crop of rock that juts out across from the Acropolis, and also as the council of elders, a body of officials who, since about the 5th or 6th century BC, assembled there to conduct official business. Paul cleverly spoke to the Areopagus assembly of Agnostos Thayos, Aγνωστος Θεός, an Unknown God they honored, Paul spoke in such a way as to lead them to identify their god Ἄγνωστος Θεός with Paul’s own Hebrew God whose name could not be spoken except by allusion: Adonai the Lord (Yahweh Elohim, who appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush but whose Name is too sacred to be spoken aloud), Yahweh Elohim, Lord God Creator of heaven and earth. 

You heard Paul’s speech or sermon just now as our first lesson this morning, a clever presentation, and the rest of the story tells us that some people there thought Paul was a nutcase, but a few, including two who are named in the story, believed Paul and apparently were converted and followed in The Way — which was what The Faith was called they called it “Christianity.”

Although all are relevant to my message, I do not want to examine all four lessons, and in the Episcopal Church most sermons are preached from the Gospel reading for the day, where this morning the evangelist has Jesus in his “Farewell Discourse” promising the disciples at supper that night, that when he, Jesus, is taken away, God will send the Holy Spirit. And so this gospel reading alerts us to two things in our life as a Christian community: 

First, that this coming Thursday, the church commemorates The Ascension, forty days after Easter and one of the seven highest holy days of the church year, The Ascension when, according to Acts One, Jesus ascends to the Father. But because church experience is that nobody will bother coming to church on Thursday, we are allowed to move Ascension to next Sunday, Easter 7. I do not know whether Father Steve will do that or not, it’s up to the preacher and I would if I were preaching, and I always did at churches where I was rector, because even if The Ascension narrative begs credence, Ascension is fun to visualize, and because over the Christian centuries artists have given us fascinating paintings to look at, many paintings are called “The Disappearing Feet” depicting the disciples and Mother Mary gazing up in astonishment at Jesus’ feet (which is all you see of him) as Jesus’ feet disappear into the clouds. Some of the art is quite ancient and also quite famous. Some of it is ludicrous, naïve. My theology professor at seminary thought it hilarious. I post some of the most fantastical of the paintings on my blog every year, and I look forward to doing that again. So our gospel anticipates The Ascension.

The other event today’s Gospel foretells is Pentecost, when liturgical colors change to flaming red for the day. All Jews at that time, Jesus’ followers are gathered in Jerusalem for what Hellenistic Jews called Pentecost (Shavuot), the Jewish festival fifty days after Passover, when suddenly the room where they’re assembled is filled with sound, the rush of a mighty wind as the Holy Spirit comes upon them, and tongues of flame dance upon their heads, and there is glossolalia, speaking in tongues and full understanding. Pentecost is a startling spectacle that, like Ascension, is another of our seven greatest high holy days on the church calendar. 

So that’s what’s ahead for us here at Holy Nativity and the church at large. 

What I want to touch on this morning, though, is something Bishop Russell Kendrick included in the current issue of The Coastline, our diocesan newsletter that you should be receiving as email about monthly. If you are not receiving The Coastline, please let Madge know so she can put you on the bishop’s email list. The bishop’s article ties in with today’s Gospel of love, of loving Jesus, and of Jesus’ summary of the Law: love God and love neighbor. 

Our national church is about to introduce what is being called Becoming Beloved CommunityBecoming Beloved Community is not meant to be a “program” where everybody goes to a half day indoctrination briefing, signs off and goes home, but a long term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation and justice. It is meant to help us, each of us as individuals and all of us as family, church, community, nation and world, to help us, lead us, move us, over our lifetime and forever, into the Mind of Christ as our Christian Way of Life. I do not know yet what all we will see and hear in the years ahead as we Become Beloved Community, which is in fact the baptismal journey toward Becoming Christ. I do pray that this will be, for each and all of us, a changing, conversion, metamorphosing faith experience. I do know that Becoming Beloved Community focuses on the actions that we promise every time we baptize a new Christian here, and every time we Renew our Baptismal Vows. We do it often, and, as you know, the demand of baptism is pointed, sharp, clear, unconditional, startling, even frightening in its call to become very different from what we are; and, as you also know, few or none of us truly live into the Way of the Cross that Baptism demands of us on the far side of the Baptismal Font: Will you, Will you, Will you, Will you, Will you? And though we promise, “I will, with God’s help,” it’s largely an empty promise. Well, it seems that God is about to help in the Holy Spirit of the Episcopal Church movement Becoming Beloved Community. We are to hear more in our days ahead. I pray the Holy Spirit to fill each of us with determination to the Becoming, to becoming Christ. 

So as a reminder and a new beginning, please turn in your prayerbook to page 292, The Renewal of Baptismal Vows, as we stand. 


Sermon in Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, Panama City, Florida on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 21, 2017. The Reverend Tom Weller. Again, I do not print and publish the sermons pridefully, but apologetically and humbly, solely because of a longstanding promise to a dear friend. TW+


“Carroll, come look!” Linda said urgently from 7H porch, sticking her head in the door, “it’s a fire!” I closed the computer from fiddling with sermon notes and went outside, thinking to see a woods or house fire across the Bay, but it was straight down, blazing hugely at our feet, just below us, flames leaping and spreading in the growth of sea oats and other vegetation on the narrow strip of sand dune between Harbour Village and StAndrewsBay. 

Directly below me, someone, a resident, I suppose, was futilely playing a garden hose just outside the ground floor gym windows. I rushed back inside, grabbed a phone and dialed 911. The operator switched me to the fire department, where whoever answered told me the fire department had been on the scene twenty minutes. Hanging up and going back, I saw that, indeed, a firehose was being played from just around the corner where this tower ends, round toward the swimming pool deck and, coming round our way, a second hose quickly drowning the conflagration such that the picture I snapped at 7:45 shows just the end of the fire spreading eastward toward the park.  

“When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, ye shall receive power, and ye shall be witness unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” Pentecost comes June 4, two weeks from today, when we shall see all manner of flaming red, but last evening’s fire was it for now.

Rain. This morning we have rain.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

reliving Friday

Overcast over 7H porch this morning, and to the east, south and west. Moon sailing high in and out of clouds, huge planet to the far left, northward, of the moon. These past several days, weeks, clouds are not as photogenic as earlier. No matter. Davis to Courtney:

A relaxing and peaceful visit to Apalachicola yesterday. There are two hotels, motels, right on the river and we’ve only stayed at one, Apalachicola River Inn, which in our mind is the Rainbow. We stayed there a night or two when we first arrived in town from Pennsylvania the last week of July 1984. Told here before, we were on the first floor, which evidently had recently been flooded, as the carpet in our room was wall to wall soaking wet, and the first night we were there an alligator ate a cat in the motel parking lot. The night before, we had stayed in the lovely inn at Wakulla Springs. We were a family of three, Linda and I 48, Tass 12, and Trinity’s rectory was our home for the next fourteen years. 

When visiting Apalachicola since then, we’ve stayed variously at the Gibson Inn, at Coombs House, once at an inn on StGeorgeIsland, and at the Rainbow but always only on the second floor. Just to try it, we made a reservation for a couple nights the end of May at Water Street Hotel, which is newer and has an elevator. On the river, it’s not really, but on Scipio Creek. For our wedding stay in October, we’ll decide between the two. 

For a change from Owl Cafe, which is always good, we had lunch at Up the Creek Raw Bar, outstanding “steamed” oysters 

and Linda had crab cakes, the first crab cakes I’ve tasted since living near Chesapeake Bay that were 100% crabmeat and no turkey dressing, beyond perfect.

After lunch we parked on the river while Linda browsed her shops as I watched river traffic of diving pelicans and shrimp boats. 

Then we drove across the bridge for the first time in many years for a delightful visit to reminisce with parishioner friends from long ago. As we were leaving I glanced in a bookcase and admired a model Lincoln car, which he promptly took out and handed to me saying “happy birthday.” 

As we exited the bridge onto Market Street, I thought “ice cream” and said it aloud and we stopped at Apalachicola Chocolate Company for scoops. I had strawberry laced with chunks of strawberries, and a scoop of tupelo honey ice cream. Linda had green, pistachio, and a scoop of caramel.

We arrived home to 7H late, exhausted, happy with the Friday. Rather than open a new bottle of red, I had one finger of Laphroaig with a cube of ice and watched a two hour movie on YouTube, Panfilov's 28 Men, a Russian war film with English subtitles, in color, Russian company of soldiers with limited weapons and ammunition, which included bottles of vodka made into molotov cocktails that caused tanks to burst into flame, in bitter Russian winter of 1941 reduced to a platoon after the first attack, then turned back a vastly larger force of German tanks and infantry and the final subtitle read “communist heroes are patriots.” But it was not an ancient film: all the soldiers had 21st century hairstyles, the subtitles included modern American cliches of speech including a reference to recycling the ruined out German tanks, and the credits ran at the end instead of the beginning. 

Leaving the cafe via elevator not stairs:

A sound night’s sleep.


Friday, May 19, 2017

ja, naturlich

From our rest stop on this morning’s walk we watched beyond the two boats and to the left as a couple of porpoises rolled and had their breakfast. Then on back to the cars and home without our usual Friday breakfast stop, as Linda and I are leaving momentarily for a day in Apalachicola for lunch and to make reservations for two overnights, one in a week or two just for the halibut, one for a long weekend in October to officiate a wedding in Trinity Church and supply for the rector that Sunday. October seems a long way off, but I’ve had Apalachicola in my blood since the 1940s, when I used to go there with my father in his truck when he was in the seafood business. I know we bought oysters there, then sometimes we’d drive on down to South Florida to buy freshwater perch and bream. The truck was a 1937 Chevrolet ton and a half army ambulance that my father bought right after WW2 and converted for his use. From olive drab he painted it silver and had a local artist paint a huge red snapper on each rear panel. I remember the artist: a enormously fat African-American man with six fingers on each hand. 

Oysters for breakfast this morning, their date is up so I first boiled them until cooked, then drained, spread on an oiled pan and into the oven to bake at 350° for fifteen or twenty minutes. With thin ww bread, butter.

What, oysters for breakfast? Going to Apalachicola, will there be oysters for lunch too? Nun, ist der Papst katholisch?