Wednesday, April 25, 2018


It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, the sky has already gone from predawn gray to pink and now coming up light blue - - which indicates a higher humidity, I suppose, 60F and 85% and I'd go outside and get a picture but that my socks would get wet.

Wounded Warriors at PCB for their twice yearly (is that biennial or semi-ennial?) visit. I appreciate them and also Bike Week when thousands of motorcycles are here, seems like mostly Harleys, and the Harley dealer at PCB is swamped with happy bikers and so is Hunt's Oyster Bar here in StAndrews.

In other news, a young golfer looks at a goose nest and the goose attacks him as he runs, tripping and falling and the goose goes for him. Good lesson there. We often, and especially the cats, were dive-bombed by nesting birds over the years, but the only time a serious bird had a go at me was the swans around the lake at Defuniak Springs once when there with the BayHigh band for a festival and wandered too close to the swans down by the water, where one charged me. We went there by bus, marched and played in a parade as I recall. My other memory of that band trip is buying a beautiful large slice of homemade coconut cream pie at one of the food booths and disappointed because it tasted thin, made with water not milk like the pie my mother made. It was my first time in that lovely town around the lake, and I thought I'd like to be priest at the quaint Episcopal church there and live in the rectory overlooking the lake. The other place I loved that way early in life was Apalachicola and Trinity Church, a dream that came true in my time. Linda and I are going back to Apalach tomorrow and staying until after the Saturday afternoon funeral of a dear old friend from our years there.

Speaking of early churches, TGBC reading this Wednesday morning is about the origin of St Barnabas' Episcopal Church, Antioch, and how their early outreach ministry was financial aid to church workers in Judea. 

Acts 11:19-30

The Church in Antioch

 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews. But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they associated with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians’.

 At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Story for today, those who started what would be the Christian Church realizing early that the God of Israel was opening himself to everyone, gentiles as well as Jews.

What does Luke mean when he quotes Peter saying "ἡμῖν πιστεύσασιν ἐπὶ τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν" "... we having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ"? It isn't the same as Paul's phrasing about "having the faith of Jesus," Luke speaks of Peter having faith IN (on, upon) Jesus. Luke is writing Acts at the end of the first or the beginning of the second century A.D., is this wording any sign of a developing higher christology in the church? IDK. Also, the issue about Judaization, requiring gentiles to become Jews (circumcision and obedience to the Law of Moses) evidently is not yet an issue (but will be when Paul comes upon the scene!).

Acts 11:1-18

Peter’s Report to the Church at Jerusalem

Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, ‘Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?’ Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, ‘I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But I replied, “By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” But a second time the voice answered from heaven, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.” And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?’ When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, ‘Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.’


Easter at 7H, so the lilies think this morning.

For all the stuff, it's still my weblog, at least until Blogger cuts me off. And for all TGBC and my comments, the usual +Time chatter continues to mix in, sometimes, as today, political or demographic, a link to an article that says it precisely, calling it "existential anxiety" and a portrait of the term: . 

We are where we are because we are afraid; afraid of what we see, afraid that what we did to others in creating our society is now being done to us, as indeed it is. 

Everyone fears being the powerless bottom of the barrel, especially who are already there, unable to have seen, ἴδωσιν Mark 9:1, ὁράω - - to see, perceive, realize, understand - - that it has come with power. The slogan is to be Great Again, "Great" as in When we comfortably knew there were those beneath us and whom we outnumbered and could keep on the margins: Negro, Jew, Muslim, Asian, Irish, Italian, Pole, Catholic, immigrant, outsider, different, white, yellow, black, brown, educated, religious Other, Hispanic; hated and feared because they grow and threaten. Flying its flag, human nature fears and therefore hates.  

TGBC separate today.


Monday, April 23, 2018

live osprey cam

Live osprey cam, he's looking all around while she sits keeping three eggs warm. Yesterday I watched her stand up, adjust the eggs, nestle back down in various positions while he was away. I don't suppose she's gazing adoringly at him, do birds do that, IDK. The website says osprey nests may weigh 200 pounds. Yesterday I watched her, as she sat facing me, shred a piece of wood or something, making it into soft material.

Sunday after church: best cheese & chocolate event imaginable, great variety of cheeses and I tasted the most delicious red velvet cake ever, cupcake size. Home to 2/3 martini and the tiny bit of cheese I brought home. Late lunch: perfect hamburger of 97% beef, med-rare on toasted w/w bun, mayo, bit of cheddar, slice tomato, thin slice raw onion. Afternoon, watched The Lost Battalion and started A Bridge Too Far but which is WW2 and doesn't fit the book I'm reading; earlier watched The Dirty Dozen, a lousy movie even with couple star actors, but I've always liked the ending with the good guys jumping off the rolling train pushing the railway tanker car of gasoline heading for the evil German blockade, lots of hellfire. Late, got onto the osprey nest and couldn't let it go. Not sure, but I think the eggs are new. Sunday afternoon and evening weather slid off into pelting rain with Bay County and others under tornado watch including when I went to bed at 8:30. Supper: heart pills and huge mug ice water thence up at 11:58 and 2:45.

She looks asleep, can't see him, I'll bet he has a girlfriend, you know how birds are.

TGBC this morning finishes Acts 10 story of Peter's vision, the angel, and Cornelius: 

Acts 10:34-48
Gentiles Hear the Good News

 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit

 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.


thanks, Norm!


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Peter & Cornelius

The Good Book Club is currently reading Acts chapter 10, in which Simon Peter, lodging at the seaside home of Simon Tanner in Joppa (Jaffa) is summoned by Centurion Cornelius, a God-fearer, and by the Holy Spirit, to Cornelius' home in Caesarea, to testify about Jesus. This is early evidence that God is opening the newly developing Church - - which began as a Jesus-cult or messianic sect of a band of Jews who had been with Jesus - - to us gentiles. 

Because it makes it awkward to follow, jump skip jump, I do not appreciate that TGBC breaks the unit story up into several day's readings, but here it is for this morning. Also, scroll down, are the readings for this week.  

Acts 10:17-33

 Now while Peter was greatly puzzled about what to make of the vision that he had seen, suddenly the men sent by Cornelius appeared. They were asking for Simon’s house and were standing by the gate. They called out to ask whether Simon, who was called Peter, was staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Look, three men are searching for you. Now get up, go down, and go with them without hesitation; for I have sent them.’ So Peter went down to the men and said, ‘I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for your coming?’ They answered, ‘Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.’ So Peter invited them in and gave them lodging.

The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the believers from Joppa accompanied him. The following day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. On Peter’s arrival Cornelius met him, and falling at his feet, worshipped him. But Peter made him get up, saying, ‘Stand up; I am only a mortal.’ And as he talked with him, he went in and found that many had assembled; and he said to them, ‘You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?’

 Cornelius replied, ‘Four days ago at this very hour, at three o’clock, I was praying in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling clothes stood before me. He said, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon, who is called Peter; he is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.” Therefore I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say.’

SUNDAY, April 22                 4 Easter 
Acts 10:17-33.
MONDAY, April 23
Acts 10:34-48.
TUESDAY, April 24
Acts 11:1-18.
Acts 11:19-30. 
THURSDAY, April 26
Acts 12:1-19. 
FRIDAY, April 27
Acts 12:20-25.
SATURDAY, April 28
Acts 13:1-12. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Caesarea on Sea

One of my favorite pastimes, and more so these days with seemingly unlimited time for it if only I could stop watching old war movies and pouring over old car brochures, is studying scripture, especially prepping for group discussion such as Sunday School and the midweek Bible seminars I mentored for a dozen or so years after retiring from full-time parish ministry. And in reading the Bible one of the things I seem to notice is that the various authors wrote down almost nothing that is mere detail or to fill space: if I read slowly and look closely, just about everything is significant and/or informative in one way or other even if at first glance it might not seem so. Just a couple of examples from this morning's TGBC reading below. 

One is Luke's description of Cornelius as a devout man who "feared God" with all his household. Seems to me this came up a few days ago when we met the Ethiopian eunuch, whom I conjectured was either a Jew or a "God-fearer," a person who, while not a Jew, might basically try to live somewhat jewishly, loving and worshiping the God of Israel but without circumcision or necessarily trying to keep all elements of the Law of Moses. And if the person was head of his/her household, the entire household might be led or required also to do as the master/mistress did. It is clear that Cornelius was such a man, a "God-fearer." It's not certain to me, but he may have been an active duty centurion, or perhaps retired military as I am, living in Caesarea by the sea as I live by the sea.

(interesting:, which, IDK, may have been a popular place for retired military to settle. 

So anyway, here's a man who already is a God-fearer, opening the Way of Christ to the gentiles and this, again interestingly, as the evangelistic work of Peter, a Jew to whom gentiles, like the animals he abhorred as food, would have been unclean. So in this little story, God himself opens the way for us. We'll see, perhaps tomorrow, I've not yet read Sunday's TGBC reading, what happens next.

The other thing I was noticing is that Simon Peter was staying at the home of Simon the Tanner, who lived by the sea. This came up in my blogpost a year or three ago: it isn't that Simon Tanner is so wealthy that he can afford a seaside home, it's that the stench of the tanning business, and its soaking into the very skin and being of the tanner, was so foul that he and his place of work had to be located where the ocean winds would carry the putrid smell away. 

Joppa or Jaffa:

Acts 10:1-16

Peter and Cornelius

In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Regiment, as it was called. He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God. One afternoon at about three o’clock he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius.’ He stared at him in terror and said, ‘What is it, Lord?’ He answered, ‘Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa for a certain Simon who is called Peter; he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.’ When the angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his slaves and a devout soldier from the ranks of those who served him, and after telling them everything, he sent them to Joppa.

 About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.’ The voice said to him again, a second time, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven.

Friday, April 20, 2018

TGBC, Dorcas et al

The black is good and, a square from a pound plus bar at TJs Tallahassee, the dark has almonds. Outside is clear and cool, good for this morning's walk in The Cove.

See, I'm reading The Great War and Modern Memory (P Fussell 1975), the horror of World War One with its overwhelming sense of desolating senselessness, thousands upon thousands of soldiers, men, human beings in well-finished permanent trenches fighting back and forth across a hundred-yard no-man's-land, their only discernible purpose to kill each other for no moral reason. To add reality to it, last evening I watched a number of newsreels, both German and English, then to Youtube to open All Quiet on the Western Front first 1930 but that was pocked by the bright light mid-screen to discourage freeloaders like me, then to the 1979 film with Ernest Borgnine and Richard Thomas, soul crushing. Not to turn to this morning's news of war that will never end, ants killing ants of the next mound in an infinitely expanding universe. Is evil our nature? Surely we are not live entertainment for the heavenly beings of Job 1:6f? 

On to TGBC reading for this morning - - 

Acts 9:32-43

The Healing of Aeneas

 Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralysed. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!’ And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

Peter in Lydda and Joppa

 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, ‘Please come to us without delay.’ So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, ‘Tabitha, get up.’ Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.