Friday, September 30, 2016

yaya

גראַמאַ for president 

When an ally is not a friend: Saudi Arabia. Of 19 terrorist hijackers in the 9/11 atrocity, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, where violent anti-Americanism was legally preached, taught and incited in a kingdom whose medieval government strictly controls religion. A reasonable observation is that the attacks were fully condoned. It also is a fact that at the time, the American president and family were close friends with Saudi royalty. Anyone who can’t draw conclusions needs a basic course in logic: whatever do they teach them in the schools these days. 

Pathetic stone-age Afghanistan oughtn’t have been the only target in the response of furious vengeance that follows.

Now the president has vetoed a bill allowing American victims of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia: having overridden the veto the Senate is having second thoughts lest foreign countries sue American service members; an interesting twist in tangled international relations. 

What would/will The Donald do? Ask Vlad.

Golda Meir for president, Margaret,


γιαγιά


66°F 54% and clear for this morning’s walk. 


Thursday, September 29, 2016

this Thursday


This morning, Thursday, we are in Pensacola, a motel on Palafox downtown. The pastor’s graveside service for Jim and his family was kind, loving, assuring and gentle, as much so as in any packed church. I was encouraged by the minister, and moved by James’ testimony about his dad as a tremendously loved man whose love for his family was extraordinary. I’m so glad we came over. 

Jim I remember as a lanky blond teenage boy with a crush on my cousin, who would arrive at my grandparents house, this would have been in the middle or late 1960s, and so quiet and shy that he would sit in a corner chair of the living room and read while family chatter was going on. Years later after they married, I remember a new car, her saying they’d ordered a stick shift because “it would be cheaper to get it fixed,” and that the car had no hubcaps because it would be quicker to change a flat tire. With my orientation toward cars, I saw in fact a very hot machine, likely with the hottest V8 engine; not positive but seems to me orange and black, or maybe yellow and black, and not at all sure but thinking a Chevy Malibu that would have gladdened the heart of any stock car driver at the Sunday races. 


They were a cute couple who stole the family’s heart. I’m so sad that fifty years on, Jim’s illnesses and pain brought him down, and devastating those who loved him. For all of them:

O God, whose mercies, wisdom, understanding and lovingkindness are beyond our understanding: as you grant Jim an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of  your saints, now deal graciously with his family in their grief. And so surround them with the loving presence of your Holy Spirit, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

While at St. John’s Cemetery I managed to find again the graves of those who loved me and whom I loved in life, or about whom I heard many stories growing up. The cemetery’ website simplifies the task of finding family graves again, and after the service I took the opportunity to visit. The Weller plot is in the oldest section just inside the gate, where it was in my early memory January 1947. Gentry grandparents are farther up and farther in, to borrow C S Lewis' phrase from Narnia, and always give me a search to find. At one time there was a large planting, seems to me a camellia, right close by, but it like most of the large plantings and many trees were destroyed by, I think it was Hurricane Ivan in 2004. After that blast that left it a bleak desert, the cemetery is back to green these dozen years later, but gone are the large old blooming plantings that were landmarks all my life.

We are in an interesting motel downtown, renovated nicely, perfect and adequate. One thing reasonably not included in the renovation is the old art-deco toilet that adds a charm even if it won’t stop running. The bathroom with shower but no tub (fine with me) makes me wonder if the adjacent oddly oversize closet space originally housed a bathtub, but IDK. Anyway, I like the place and the price was right.

Supper last evening at the Fish House, an outside table on a pleasant night. The restaurant, eaten there several times, overlooks Pensacola Bay eastward. But after a gourmet French lunch at Gulf Coast State College, we weren’t hungry for supper, only for the adventure, so ended with leftover fish, oysters and shrimp that, overnight in the motel refrigerator, may be breakfast.

pax vobiscum for a peaceful Thursday

DThos+ in +Time+

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

passing


A morning but for heat and humidity we’d have coffee on 7H porch instead of inside looking out. Not so much a spectacular sunrising as taking in this speck of creation’s wonder in our millisecond of Time that "was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be." And we used to finish in Anglican Chant, “world without end Amen” but's no longer so evident past eighty as past eight. 

Do I remember passing eight? That summer my mother and I boarded the train at the L&N depot on Alcaniz in Pensacola, changed trains in Montgomery, on to Washington, DC for several days including the zoo where I saw my first tarantula, step by step to the top of the Washington Monument and looked around, climbed into the topmost level of the capitol dome where visitors no longer are allowed. Thence to New London, Connecticut to see my father, who was in maritime service officer school, where memories include standing on a bridge and watching a diesel submarine pass under us as a sailor on the conning tower looked up and saluted me. Return home to hear that while we were away my brother and sister ages five and six had scared the hell out of our grandmother by climbing out on the steep roof of the Gentry house at 1317 E.Strong Street and caught eating candy out there. All extremely mixed feelings about. 

Moreover, thunderclaps offshore.

After lunch we drive to Pensacola for a graveside service, passing the L&N station when I was a boy. Restored and designated historic, it’s incorporated into the Crowne Plaza Hotel behind it. 



Tried a reservation there for tonight, but all booked up. At St. John’s Cemetery I’ll visit Gentry and Weller grandparents, and Alfred. Drive by 1317 and old East Hill Baptist Church.



Again last evening caught a ship entering port and passing 7H starboard-side-to. Tall tower in the background.



Courtney Point, tall tower behind, BayPoint. Now lightning, shrimp-boat headed home, thunderstorm passing through.



20160928 0915 local. Enviro, not sure but looks like "Harvey Bluesea" being towed from port back to Eastern Shipbuilding. Impressive, they build beautiful vessels there. 



DThos+ 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

20160927



Jean Shepard died this week, about my age, she was a favorite whom I saw on stage with a group of Grand Ole Opry singers, including Webb Pierce, Ira and Charlie the Louvin Brothers and others at Alachua High School on University Avenue in Gainesville my junior or senior year at Florida. 1955 or 1956 I reckon, could have been 1957, but I think it was during the fall semester, and I went with a friend who loved country music as much as I did. 


Introduced as “Little Jeannie Shepard,” she was feisty, small, a cute little blonde girl I could have had a crush on, had a wonderful clear voice for the traditional hillbilly music she sang. She was a first or early woman country music star, determined to succeed, as said in a quote, “Weren’t nothing going to stop me” and by golly nothin’ did’n stop her neither.

That was a big night in Gainesville, including I think also Hawkshaw Hawkins (whom Jeannie Shepard married), Little Jimmie Dickens, and Ernest Tubb singing in his resonating voice and saying, “Aw, Billy Bird now.” I used to love country music, and listened to it on my car radio for years until I realized the sad love songs were always bringing me down into a deep, blue funk!

First few years after Navy retirement, I was away from our Harrisburg home on my defense consulting business more than seventy-five percent of the time, loved and drove new Cadillac cars, and always had the radio on with either country music or a religious program. One evening, heading home pedal to the metal probably around Salt Lake City or Denver, munching a quarter-pounder with cheese and sipping black coffee, my radio was tuned to a New Testament scholar taking calls. In the chat the caller was upset about something that had been changed in a new Bible translation, and the scholar explained what the Greek word was. From deep in darkness, the caller cut in, “I don’t go by the Greek, I go by the Bible, the Saint James Bible,” leaving the scholar too taken aback to continue the conversation.

Blooming with its heavenly fragrance, Linda's gardenia plant seems to think it's late spring instead of early fall. From out here on 7H porch, it appears that we may have a lovely Tuesday coming up. I can’t get it clear yet, keep trying, shot of the tall tower over beyond Courtney Point, flashing red and reflection trailing toward me into the Bay. 


Early today, that’s a shrimp boat to the left, to the right over 7H porch rail, my latest try for a clear picture of the tower. Right after we moved from Apalachicola home to 2308, I came out on Alfred’s Porch late one night, looked over at the bright lights toward Courtney Point, and for a moment thought what I was looking at was a large ship run aground.

Sunset time last evening, storm clouds passing by,


and beyond the flashing red buoy, lights coming on at the high Gulf-front condos on Thomas Drive:


DThos+ trusting +Time+ to go a bit longer!


Monday, September 26, 2016

My Bad Habit



Okay, I have this bad habit that I meant to blog about this morning, but I can’t remember what it is, accordingly nothing to say. Making fun of me? Blessed and fortunate as I, you’ll get here.

Robert is in Gainesville at Shands with Cindy, who when he called last night was back in the ICU. I know Robert is in indescribable agony with his daughter’s major health issue, and he and Cindy are never out of my thought and prayer. We won’t meet behind Cove School (HNES) to walk, so I’ll walk with Linda. Easy to measure: one lap round the underground garage below is quarter mile, plus the Health tab on my iPhone keeps tabs on me. Garage not as interesting as walking round Massalina Bayou or along the Bay at EastBeachDrive, but healthy enough. If I can walk and chew gum at the same time, I may be able to have a “car project” such as count Lexus cars, or Camry, Mercedes, Cadillacs, Chevrolets. I do know there’s one Pontiac in the garage, two Mercury cars, no Oldsmobile. 

Ship leaving yesterday afternoon, noticed and caught her just in time. Out on 7H porch after returning from a pastoral call, watched and snapped a tug pushing barges close by, not decent pics, and too dark to see anything more than just lights, but they did make an interesting if fuzzy shot on the smooth surface of StAndrewsBay. Tug is green lights, barges ahead of her, tipped by green light. Red nav lights beyond.


And Monday morning after predawn lightning and clear skies with lots of stars, Monday looks to be clear.



DThos+ 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Oblivious, Untouched, Unmoved & Uninformed. Indifferent.

Sermon in Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, Panama City, Florida, Sunday, 25 September 2016. Proper 21C. Luke 16:19-26. The Rev. Tom Weller



Luke 16:19-26
Jesus said, "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dog would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' But Abraham said, `Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a gulf, a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’" 

+++++++++++++++++

The Gospel is not Good News. Shaken by Truth, unable to make a silk purse of a sow’s ear, I shall preach this Gospel as I hear Jesus telling it. You may be seated.

+++++++++++++++++

In his sophistication some thirty years ago, Roger Ebert gave it two and a half stars. Except for one maudlin scene, I’d give it five stars, but what the heck do I know? Ebert was the professional film critic, and I who see two or three movies a decade am sentimental for a cliff-hanger about a boy who gets lost from his parents and falls into enemy hands.

Steven Spielberg’s 1987 film Empire of the Sun, is about Jim, an English boy, son of wealthy parents who live in obscene luxury in an exclusive British neighborhood of Shanghai until the Japanese invasion of 1941. From an autobiography of real life, the story was charming in places, but searing in other scenes. 

Downtrodden and oppressed by wealthy Europeans — including British racial and cultural superiority of arrogant, selfish, cruel, even brutal racist colonialism — the Chinese hated the foreigners among them, and for cause: haughty, entitled, flashy, superior, grotesquely flaunted wealth in a scenario of horrifying poverty. In a scene shown more than once (and straight out of this morning’s gospel), Jim’s father’s chauffeur-driven Packard limousine eases out the gates of their high-walled mansion into the quiet, grand, elegant boulevard, while in the back seat looking out through the car window, the boy, Jim, a child, stares captivated, apparently puzzled, at the Chinese beggar, an old man in rags always outside the gate, squatting on the sidewalk, leaning against the high brick wall, waiting, waiting. Waiting. Hopefully waiting, or hopelessly. Always ignored, contemned, inferior, bottom of the barrel dregs of humanity. Resentful and Bitter. Lazarus of the Gospel. 

The Chinese beggar’s resentment was evident, palpable. But I was unsure how Spielberg meant us to read the look on Jim’s face as he stared, seemingly puzzled, uncomprehending, at the beggar: pointed, searing, the gospel scenario, Good News in pictures. Now you “get it”, now you don’t, in the movie I could not tell for sure whether Jim “got it” or not, but I think he was one of the Oblivious Entitled.

So here we are. Immersed in glorious worship, fellowship, liturgy, elegant music and moving hymns, we read but do not hear, see, or understand Jesus. Jesus who in our liturgical theology is personally present in and as the gospel (which is why we stand respectfully to read and hear the Gospel, because Jesus comes into the midst of us, did you know that’s why we stand? well, know it now) — Jesus means us to see ourselves when he tells a story. But we Westerners, we Christians, colonialist imperialists who love a good story, are blind to ourselves. We do not repent of the evil that enslaves us, (God help us, we are oblivious to it)
The evil we have done, 
And the evil done on our behalf.

Oblivious to ourselves and our cultural certainties, we may see the sins of others but are blind to our own grievous fault of indifference to the plight of those around us; both internationally but even more damningly at home, domestically, fellow Americans. More Southern and Southerner than anyone in this room (if only because I’m the oldest, I was here first) I was born at Panama City Hospital downtown, grew up a few blocks from this pulpit, in the Cove, a racially segregated society that to me seemed natural, right, good and proper, the way life is meant to be. Like the foreigners in Spielberg’s film, it never occurred to me that anything was wrong, that my very Being grieved the Holy Spirit. All white neighborhood, all white schools from first grade at Cove School and Bay High (people of color went to Rosenwald), right through college at the all-white-only University of Florida (people of color went to Florida A&M). Segregated Ritz Theatre downtown, white and colored water fountains, blacks in the back of buses, whites in front, totally, legally-enforced, racially segregated and separate society and cultures, restaurants, beaches — yes, no people of color allowed on our beach or in our hotels or restaurants; none in our churches, yes, churches, our perfect, private and exclusively white Christian churches, church, my church, the Episcopal Church. Lazarus outside the gate, in his place.

I mean “Make America Great Again” God help us. GREAT as when? AGAIN as when? And who says? Dives the Rich Man? Surely not Lazarus. In my lifetime America has evolved, changed, began changing, to change, Americans are not yet “changed” in heart and soul, but are changing, we hate change and changing, we resist change, we vote against change, we love hating, love to hate, filled with certainty, cling to certitude. Oblivious. Didn’t you notice: Dives the rich man never even noticed Lazarus, never saw Lazarus.

Piously Sunday by Sunday we recite a Confession of Sin as we recall the naughty things we have thought and done and said, and cross ourselves as the sign of the cross is waved mercifully over us. In the image of the European colonizers who came before us, and founded us, and in whose likeness we are, we are “Dives” a proper name commonly given the rich man of the gospel* (it comes from the Latin Vulgate Bible, by the way), certitudinous in our righteous living, unmoved and uninformed by history, our history, world history; oblivious, untouched and unmoved by Heilsgeschichte, our holy history, unpersuaded by Israel’s devastating history of which Jeremiah warns, and even by the parables of Jesus. By our way of life inured to the Gospel just as Jim and his parents in Spielberg’s film, we neither hear, nor see, nor understand. 

The Gospel is not good news, this morning a raw warning from Jesus himself, kicking our gospel garbage cans upside down, the Word of God, Himself the Logos who called all things into being, threatening with an incredible story of fiery damnation and everlasting thirst, Jesus and his parable, this story, cannot be whitewashed into the innocuous: the Gospel is not good news, and you are not Lazarus.

A bargain, we have a bargain with God, we have a covenant. God seals it with us at our Baptism: we accept Jesus, and God saves us through Jesus’ death and resurrection; and then because we are backsliders, because we forget to remember, we renew the covenant from time to time, witnessing to each other's renewal. Not a passive covenant, God requires not belief and promises, but action, that we live in a certain way, the Way of the Cross.

This is a good and generous parish, people here are not mindless of the needs of others: our Backpack Ministry, our Food Bank, the generosity of Holy Nativity Parish, Holy Nativity School and Holy Nativity School Foundation in helping needy families — we do not have to beat ourselves up as Dives oblivious of the beggar at the gate. 

On the other hand, this is an election year. Hate, hatred, hate going round, stirred up and encouraged to divide us. Don’t get caught up in hatred, political hatred, hating other people, other groups, other colors, other religions, other cultures, indifference to pain. In today’s gospel, the hatred of indifference is the evil side of our human nature that Jesus calls us away from with terrible warning. All of that silent hate and contempt for those different from us returns in Spielberg’s movie Empire of the Sun, and now excruciatingly this morning as Jesus warns me with his Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man: indifference to the plight of those who are “other” — INDIFFERENCE is Detestable to God.

The gospel is clear: we are not Lazarus; and unless Jesus is a fraud, INDIFFERENCE to the suffering of others is a mortal sin unto thirsty, everlasting damnation: The Gospel of the Lord and Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


_________________
  • Lucas 16:19 Biblia Sacra Vulgata (VULGATE) 19 homo quidam erat dives et induebatur purpura et bysso et epulabatur cotidie splendide. (man certain was rich)

Art: pinched online ЕВАНГЕЛИЕ О ЛАЗАРЕ И БОГАЧЕ

At seminary (decades before the internet) we were told, taught, warned, cautioned, never, ever to put our sermons into print; but that if we were pressed and with no choice, to print not what we said, but what we meant to say, what we wished we had said. Just so then. TW+ 

yr obt svt



It’s all good, including, if it defies convention and shows up on blog, the American Typewriter font sporting lovely lower case g with quail feather. Beyond that, today’s post will include, later this afternoon, this morning’s sermon, to which I am about to cut here and turn. Who doesn’t like it, let’s see bumble competently through today’s atrociously threatening dominical parable, of which more later - - - 


While Linda went to have a prescription filled yesterday afternoon, yes life as normal, doctor’s orders, I watched (top pic) a tug push two barges and little front pointy thing unusually close to 7H, appearing to have cut inside the red navigation buoys, but surely not


Interesting weather last evening. Toward sunset I snapped pics of beautiful clouds gathering, representation here


then came inside and sat down. A few minutes later, thinking I hear John moving furniture around in the PH above, I glance up into total darkness outside and one of the closest electrical displays we’ve seen — not the closest, but perhaps the most directly overhead — so it was sharp claps of thunder. 


One of these days I may get a device and try time-delay pics on this iPhone to snap lightning, but no hurry.

No hurry about anything, in fact, especially life itself.

Wishing all a worshipful morning and long Sunday afternoon nap, I am faithfully

yr obt svt


DThos+ in +Time+