Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday, 31 May 2011. Verse for today. 
“The big final rule for the comma is one that you won’t find in any books by grammarians. It is quite easy to remember, however. The rule is: don’t use commas like a stupid person.” 
Today’s Daily Office Lectionary lessons from Deuteronomy and Psalms are about rules and what happens to those who do not keep the commandments of God. It is not a pretty picture. But here at my writing place is my calendar for the day, which has a more appealing rule. 
In my Navy office exactly fifty years ago was a well-meaning and enthusiastic chief petty officer whose job as my office manager included drafting official letters for my signature, or for the signature of the commander who was my boss, or for the captain who was commanding officer of the naval station. Chief Cook was a good soul in most respects. However, his every letter draft was an English professor’s nightmare: not lightly peppered with commas, but heavily Tabasco-ed with the little squiggly things. So terribly spiced in fact as to constitute blatant disobedience to the comma commandment of Lynne Truss. In Bible times the penalty would have been stoning.
Cook’s Comma Spice Soup 
For anyone, who enjoys writing, there is, always, the question, with punctuation, especially with commas, whether to disobey Lynne’s rule, and show ignorance, or, to follow the rules blindly, like some troll, or, to leave out most of them, in defiance. 
Let whoever is without grammatical error cast the first stone.
Whether it be rules of English composition, Navy regulations, or Church canons, my preference is generally to ignore them.
There is plenty of religious stuff to write about later this week. As for now, looking at the calendar this morning my mind is on Lynne Truss, her amphibology Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, and the terrible pain of not being able to stop laughing long enough to catch my breath during my reading of her book years ago.

A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.
"Why?" asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."
The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
Tom+ in +Time

Monday, May 30, 2011


The cold, drizzly evening of the day Bob Crosby died, Linda, Tass and I were in Washington, DC, stopping on our way from Harrisburg to Apalachicola. Instead of our usual beeline route home we were in the capital because I had insisted on visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Wall. Over the years since childhood, having been to Washington any number of times, lived there through two Navy tours years apart, and been in every memorial and monument over and over again, all were a tribute to our national history; but none had ever had anything to do with me personally. Until now, this. The Vietnam Wall was getting a lot of press and publicity. And it was mine, I had to go.
Other than personal events with Linda and my children, that evening, that brief stopover, was the most stunning and moving moment of my life. Was, is. If the Wall belongs to you personally, if the memories are yours, you cannot stroll by. You stop, freeze, stare, overwhelmed. Stunned. Face stony, jaw tight, teeth clinched, eyes full. Unable to speak. Magnitude. Remembering.

Many who returned and many who waited have many memories. My two years in USS TRIPOLI came flooding back. Time away from Linda, Malinda and Joe. On board ship we were never allowed ashore during port calls in Saigon. Calls when the ship would be docked pierside and Navy divers would swim, patrol round and under the ship constantly as precaution against sappers. High in the nearby mountains, miles away, American warplanes bombing targets all night long. Flash, long pause, muffled explosion. Flash, pause, kaboom. Flash, pause ... all night. The day at sea the teenage sailor tried foolishly to leap from one high place to another, slipped, fell and died that evening. Beside ship's company, TRIPOLI was crowded with Marine Corps ground troops, officers and men, huge USMC CH-53 and banana-shaped CH-46 helicopters, maintenance crews and pilots. Four months into that eight month WestPac deployment, home for a month at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco to replace the ship's cracked screw. Back to Vietnam. At sea offshore, mangled Vietnamese children flown aboard for weeks of surgical repair with the plastic surgeons in our ship's hospital. Eventually, home to stay and the overwhelming emotions of reunion. Flooding, flooding. A chill, drizzling night.

58,272 dead are remembered, named, honored on the Wall. In the wet cold people were there with paper and pen or pencil, finding the name and rubbing it for a memory to take home, a keepsake as real as the memories, concluding what once had been. A veteran staring at a name transfixed, transported thousands of miles away. Family members crying softly when they found the name. Flowers and folded notes. Flags. Love.

It was not a popular war. It was intensely unpopular. The cost was enormous, enormous in many, many ways. Blood, body bags, casualty assistance calls teams knocking, MIA, KIA, young men moving to Canada, resources; long, long grievous national introspection. Ingratitude. Contempt, even hatred, that veterans experienced at home was ugly at times. In my first Washington, DC tour, during Vietnam, we were cautioned and careful about going out on the streets wearing the uniform because of being harassed, spit upon by strangers. But it was not our war, it was their war. U.S military forces are an instrument of national foreign policy. Vietnam was not our war. Vietnam was your war, prosecuted by those you elected to office.

It is now forty years and more,
Biblical language for a very long time.
Anger, dismay, bitterness, hurt, grief -- 
but not memories -- are faded, fading.
Memories, nor pride.
58,272. Our Honored Dead. Our Memorial. Our Wall.
It honors not only the dead, but all who served, 
all who remember. 


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Resurrection of the Body?

1 Peter 3:13-22

13 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear,* and do not be intimidated, 15but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; 16yet do it with gentleness and reverence.* Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. 18For Christ also suffered* for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you* to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. 21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for* a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
If not more, there are at least two fistfuls of ten minute sermons in today’s Lectionary reading from First Peter. There may be a dozen points of theology to contemplate. And there are innumerable things to ponder working through the passage in a Bible study. A couple of things are especially intriguing to me this morning. In verse 18 He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit: is Peter saying that Jesus was resurrected spiritually, but not in his earthly body? Seems so, doesn’t it. But if so, what about the Church’s teaching about the resurrection of the body? There’s something to ponder. One week during my seminary days there was a campaign to get everyone to sign up on the drivers license to be an organ donor. Of my classmates everybody signed up except one young man. He declined, saying that he wanted his body to be complete at the resurrection. Some in the class laughed and scoffed at him.
“I believe in ... the resurrection of the body” we say in the Apostles Creed (BCP 53, 66). Is that a resurrection of the physical body, graves bursting open and the dead being raised? What about those whose body no longer remains, including those of us who were cremated and ashes scattered? Is the resurrection an archaic notion that the Church inherited from first century Pharisees? Is it an instantaneous spiritual resurrection into life eternal? When is the resurrection? Is it an untenable hope of bodily resurrection that contrasts with science including modern cosmology? What about the view of my seminary classmates versus the evidently differing view of the declining young man? Should we delete “donor” from our drivers license?
The other thing that intrigues me this morning is in the very next verse, verse 19, he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison. Ancient fathers of the Church understood that specifically, and so our English translation of the Apostles Creed said rather startlingly, “He descended into hell.” Contemporary translation says, “He descended to the dead.” 
Our adult Sunday school class is recessed for the summer, but if we were meeting this morning there are a couple of things we could worry over and disagree about.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A King

In everything, you, Lord, magnified and glorified your people, and you did not neglect them, but stood by them at every time and place. (Wisdom 19:22, appointed for today)
The verse from the Apocryphal book of Wisdom brings to mind two excellent dvd movies, The King’s Speech and the Masterpiece Theatre production Bertie & Elizabeth. Both are about beloved King George VI of England and his wife Queen Elizabeth, later titled Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The two movies present a good and loyal, heroic man who knew what was right and did it, stuck faithfully with duty to God and Country through England’s most difficult period in modern times. Bertie (George VI) stood in sharp contrast to his brother David (Edward VIII) whom history says chose personal preferences over duty and country in a time of mounting crisis. The Book of Wisdom praises God, or a king, perhaps Solomon, and for Christians, Jesus. However, looking in one’s own lifetime, one could see the character of George VI praised in the verse.
Wisdom, or the Wisdom of Solomon, is a book of the Septuagint, the Alexandrian Greek Bible. Not canonical in the Palestinian Hebrew Bible, it is for us a book of the Apocrypha, of which our Catechism says (BCP 853), “Q. What is the Apocrypha? A. The Apocrypha is a collection of additional books written by people of the Old Covenant, and used in the Christian Church.” From time to time, both in the Sunday Eucharistic Lectionary and in the Daily Office Lectionary, a reading from the Apocrypha is prescribed in place of the Old Testament reading, and that is the case for today, Saturday in the Week of 5 Easter, Year One (BCP 962).
Wisdom seems to have been written in the second or third century B.C. by an unknown Greek speaking Jew, perhaps of Alexandria. Matthew, who evidently did not know Hebrew or the Hebrew Bible, used the Septuagint in his Gospel. Some scholars believe that the Septuagint may have been the Bible that Jesus knew, because although the language Jesus spoke was Aramaic, he lived in a day and age when the common language was Greek and did not necessarily know Hebrew. If that is so, Jesus would have known the Book of Wisdom. We actually don’t know though.
Right shoe first.

Friday, May 27, 2011

MY CUP ...

A problem giving up coffee and tea those months was not only the coffee or tea but missing the mugs. For years children and family have honored me with gifts of coffee mugs and teacups -- Christmases, birthdays, Fathers Days, travel mementoes, all for love’s sake ...
From a dozen years ago there’s a mug with a photo of Kristen and Ray. Brought to me from a trip to the beach. 
For my 60th birthday half a generation back a mug that says “If you tease me about my age, I’ll beat you with my cane.”
I’m tired and I want a cookie” says another.

Mugs with Caroline and Charlotte's handprints.

Fr Tom” mug made by a friend at St. Thomas
MIND THE GAP” brought back from England by the summer 2009 travelers. It has a map of the London Underground.
Another with pictures of Westminster Abbey, same trip.
A tempered glass tea mug Tass & Jeremy brought me from England years ago. Linda and I looked after their house and cats in Tallahassee while they were away.
A black mug with a design imprinted, bought by my mother because Tassy very small insisted, “My dad will love this” and indeed he does.
From Joe, a Harley-Davidson “hog” mug in the shape of a hog with my date 1935.
Mugs with Kristen’s picture and her soccer teams.
Christmas one year from Kate, Kevin, Tim and Ben:
More tea, Vicar?

This morning ...


this morning's coffee mug proclaims boldly. 
Beneath, smaller

“I just can’t eat a whole one by myself.”
My cup runneth over.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Pete

Folk singer Pete Seeger is 92. Honored on Sunday night TV, always a character,1950s and Era America 1965...
Bring ‘EM Home
How Can I Keep From Singing
If I Had A Hammer
Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring
King Henry
Land Of A Thousand Songs
Last Train To Nuremberg
My Father’s Mansion’s Many Rooms
Old Hundred
Pete’s Song
Turn, Turn, Turn
Wasn’t That A Time
Where Have All The Flowers Gone
Words, Words, Words 
Many, many more. Got a favorite? Favorite to hate? Favorite to love?
Controversial beloved besmirched, McCarthy Era victim, tormented, celebrated, pilloried by HUAC, musical poetical religious political, a year in jail for contempt of Congress (!!!!!!), character with a cause, man with a banjo. Pete Seeger.

America has come a long way
Pete was left when I was right.
Pete was right when I was wrong.
Happy birthday, Pete.
And many more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Areopagus Rock is a low rocky hill located just below the Acropolis. In Ancient Greece, the Council of Nobles and the Judicial Court met on the hill. Many years later, St Paul preached from this sacred location.  Areopagus Rock is also called Mars Hill or Aries Hill.
Acts 17:22-31 (Lesson for Easter 6: Sunday, May 29, 2011)

22-23So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. "It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I'm here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you're dealing with.
24-29"The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn't live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn't take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don't make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We live and move in him, can't get away from him! One of your poets said it well: 'We're the God-created.' Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn't make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?
30-31"God overlooks it as long as you don't know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he's calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead." (The Message)
Paul has gone into Athens to proclaim Christ. There he is astonished at the variety of shrines to various gods, even one shrine “to a god nobody knows,” as though to cover all the bases and make sure no god is left out and angered. The city fathers are concerned about this foreigner who has come stirring the pot, creating a fuss about someone nobody ever heard of. So they ask Paul to come explain what he’s about. This piece from Acts is Paul’s speech to the city council, called the Areopagus because that’s where they meet.
Some members of the council scoff. Some are interested and want to hear more and then accept Christ. Luke (who wrote Acts) names a couple of the new believers, Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris. Tradition has it that Damaris was the wife of Dionysius, a prominent judge and member of the council, who later was Bishop of Athens. 
The Message translation above is a bit too modern for my taste, in part because it clouds over the wonderful verse at Acts 17:28 where Paul speaks of God in whom "we live and move and have our being.”
Mittwoch. Pax.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Nonsense

Font of choice today: Zapf Dingbats.
Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton and “All In The Family.” Boy our old LaSalle ran great.

Harold Camping and October 21, 2011, his new date for the Apocalypse. NYT quotes Rev. Harold this morning, “We don’t need to talk about this anymore.” 
Search for a reasonable & realistic 1934 DeSoto Airflow diecast
Deuteronomy 21:18-21
Enormous old house for two. How about a highrise condo overlooking Sydney harbor 

Codger whose car list and age are the same

3 decades sermons cluttering my space

Thinking to rid azaleas of potato vine

Liturgical fetishes
Home swimming pool
Ai and Achen
7 decades car trivia cluttering my mind
Loving an antique school building


Mile wide tornadoes
Doting parent grandparent
Tuesday morning nonsense

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fallen Asleep In Christ

οι κοιμηθεντες εν χριστω

A dear old friend is dying and living into it graciously. Recently she phoned for a long conversation to bring me up to date on her family and to ask if I would officiate her funeral, in a church we both love, where our families once worshiped and served and feasted and were baptized and married, died and were buried, and celebrated together. Would I officiate her funeral and then lay her to rest by the husband we buried years ago.
Death is on her mind. As indeed it was on my mind a few months back. Every dying is different. But death itself seems to be the same for all of us: we are dead. What is death like? We wonder. In time we find out. Not in chronos but in kairos we find out what death is like.
We like to believe -- and lex orandi lex credendi our liturgy that is our theology encourages this -- that when we die we pass immediately from this life into the next life. From earth to heaven. That doesn’t seem to be what St. Paul believes. Paul in 1st Corinthians 15 uses the Greek phrase οι κοιμηθεντες εν χριστω literally “those who have fallen asleep in Christ.” Modern translations may render the phrase “those who are dead” but οι κοιμηθεντες εν χριστω is Paul’s lyrical Greek for those who die believing that because Christ was raised from the dead we also shall be raised. Paul says of those who are asleep in Christ, i.e. dead, that the trumpet will sound and the dead shall be raised imperishable (15:52b). 
A Pharisee, Paul believed in the resurrection at the Last Day and evidently expected it to happen in his lifetime.
Paul then seems to believe that when we die we are “asleep in Christ” -- that is to say, dead -- indefinitely -- until the trumpet sounds for the general resurrection. I don’t necessarily like this, but on thought it makes no difference does it.
My metaphor, simile actually, is that death is like open heart surgery. As you realize it’s going to happen you may move from Ordinary Time into Stoppage Time. At some point during Stoppage Time you are rolled into the OR clothed in the same suit you were born wearing. Someone starts an IV. You will be in the OR six hours. For all we know, it might as well be six millennia. Or ages of ages.
There is no pain, no awareness. There may or may not be dreams. Preparing for my own quarter day in the OR my life had been thought through and my dreams carefully selected to live again certain memories; but not a single one of them, nor any other dream, appeared. There was simply that quarter day of total unawareness that was neither blackness nor darkness. Simply absence. Death perhaps. Asleep in Christ.
Suddenly, with no passage of Time whatsoever, consciousness began to return. Pehaps like being born the first time. Coming awake, I struggled and fought as tubes were removed. I opened my eyes to see myself not with my beloved grandmother as I had rather expected but surrounded by living loved ones. “I’m alive!” My absence from life for that quarter day in the OR was nothing to me. The passage of Time was as nothing. It could have been six hours or six millennia for all I knew. Or six eons.
Death and resurrection may be like that. It makes no difference how long we sleep in Christ. It will be no time at all until the trumpet sounds.
And we wake up in eternal +Time.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chasing Daylight

Chasing Daylight
Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to
love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among
things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall
endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Inordinate time and effort went into my three careers, Navy, business, and ministry. Through all twenty Navy years my conviction was the Navy slogan “The Navy Comes First” including before family and loved ones; and my priority was doing the best job, getting the best fitness report, moving toward promotion to the next rank.
Eight years in my own defense related business had me away from home 75% of every year, driving forty-thousand miles a year between Harrisburg and wherever, in the air enroute to California, Australia, Canada; Linda at home with the children.

The years of full-time parish ministry, though far better because the rectory was adjacent to church and office, my priority was church work when it could and should have been family, those I love and those who love me, family and friends.
In the car on the way to Panama City Beach on Friday afternoon an email arrived from John quoting a professional journal piece (quoted below). The article is apt and timely for everyone, especially for me having consciously deliberately purposefully closed out Ordinary Time in the weeks after my October episode while waiting uncertainly for Cleveland and now living by grace in +Time. Sitting in the car at Pier Park, I read the email and ordered the book with my iPad: Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life by Eugene O’Kelly. Can’t wait to read it. 
Chasing Daylight
On May 24, 2005 Eugene O'Kelly stepped into his doctor's office with a full calendar and a lifetime of plans on his mind. Six days later he would resign as CEO of KPMG. His lifetime of plans dwindled to 100 days, leaving him just enough time to say goodbye before he died of cancer. 
The book "Chasing Daylight" chronicles O'Kelly's last days and the title comes from O'Kelly's routine of playing golf with his wife after getting home from work--playing golf, chasing daylight. The book is a confirmation that our lives and that the people in them are temporary joys, but the time we spend enjoying them is never lost. And if we conquer our fears-even the fear of death-we can conquer anything. 
As a professional accountant O'Kelly was used to making lists and here are some of the items he included on one of his last lists: Get legal and financial affairs in order, unwind relationships, simplify, live in the moment, create great moments, perfect moments. One of the quotes in his book is "but if paperwork is enough to break your spirit--and it is--then how can you have anything left?" 
These days we may not have much "paperwork" but how about adding to it emails, Facebook invites, claim reports, quotes to respond to, etc. So this is a simple exhortation to keep things in perspective and balance. We all want to work hard and make a difference. But note that many of the things on O'Kelly's last list involve relationships. I especially like the "live in the moment" and "create great moments." 
So no matter what or who you are dealing with, try to keep in mind how temporal it all is and what really matters is how we treat people. Since we are in one of the most relationship driven businesses there is that means we have more opportunities than most to create great, special and meaningful moments with so many different people. By doing so, not only will we feel more complete in ourselves, we will almost certainly be creating goodwill that will at the same time help our businesses too. 
Or said differently, creating daylight for others can be as rewarding as chasing it for ourselves.

I would never wish to return to Ordinary Time. Whoever hasn’t moved into +Time might consider it. It’s not unlike the dawning of one’s own Easter.


Sunset: thanks, RevRay

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sabbath Rapture Sunday Tribulation

Rapture this Evening? Tribulation Tomorrow?
For those who are on the right side The Revelation to John is an assuring not scary apocalyptic written by someone named John on the Isle of Patmos at the end of the first century or early second century. With resistance from some, it seems to have been included in the New Testament canon late in the Fourth Century because, seeing the name John (Rev. 1:1, 4), early fathers of the Church attributed it either to John ben Zebedee the disciple and apostle, one of the Twelve; and/or to the Evangelist who wrote the Fourth Gospel called John, (see John 20:2 and 21:24) whom tradition holds to be the “beloved disciple.” Some scholars say all the Johns are one and the same; some scholars say that John ben Zebedee, Gospel John, and Patmos John were three different people. 
The book is classical apocalyptic, written in a time of extreme trouble or anticipated trouble for its intended audience, or perhaps even reflecting back on that trouble.  That trouble would have been the cruel Roman persecution of Christians. The author's agenda is to encourage those who are faithful to Christ and the Church through the trouble, with promising assurance that they will be saved when it’s all over victoriously; and to threaten condemnation and horrific punishment for those who yield to Rome and abandon Christ and the Church. 
Revelation, or The Apocalypse, is a great read and makes for fascinating Bible study. The rapture is the name commonly given for the time in the story when Christ The Lamb Who Was Slain returns to earth to gather the faithful to himself. The tribulation is the name commonly given to the time in the story of terrible suffering for those who were on the wrong side during the struggle and therefore were not saved during the rapture. 
One view of Revelation is that it’s a prophecy for the future. From time to time self-acclaimed prophets such as Harold Camping claim to have computed the date day hour of the rapture, the Second Coming of Christ. Followers  have gathered on mountaintops and in other places to await the great event. So far their prophecies have proved false. What about today, Camping’s prophecy for six o’clock this evening? For myself, I’m going to wait it out and then go help myself to a brand new red Corvette convertible tomorrow after everyone’s gone. If there’s a red one with a white top and white leather seats at Cramer GM and the door isn’t locked and the keys are in it I’ll drive it to church in the morning.
Ten or eleven years ago Time magazine had a cover story about The End. What would it be like? That issue is upstairs in my office somewhere but I didn’t dig it out this morning. Scientific in outlook, it says that the universe will end in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years with the end of its expansion after the Big Bang, when all fiery energy will die and the universe will freeze to Absolute Zero at which nothing material can exist, and there will be nothing. That's scary.
I’m counting on Harold Camping for the Corvette.

Meanwhile, Sabbath: right shoe first and praise God.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Plantagenet Cherokee

This MacBook has innumerable font choices, making it interesting to leave Helvetica and try a different font from time to time. CaringBridge rejected it but if Blogger picks it up this morning’s font of choice is Plantagenet Cherokee. Never heard of it but it’s a serif type. Who knows whence these odd font names come? Jeremy knows. Jeremy also can distinguish between a good font and an evil font.
Yesterday was my four month checkup at Bay Cardiology. Amiodarone had been prescribed because of the ventricular fibrillation episode in Cleveland. Because of that episode no caffeine. Because of the med no red wine. At the checkup the amiodarone was dropped and both red wine and decaf coffee (which has trace amounts of caffeine) went back on the approved list. One chairside companion this early hour is a cup of coffee for the first time since January, four months, which is twice long enough to try selling oneself on a glass of orange juice as a satisfactory substitute for that first cup of coffee in the morning. Yes, decaf, but the jolt is not needed and any taste difference between caf and decaf escapes me. Whole beans and my fancy coffeemaker are back, which in Easter Season is good for a Hallelujah of Many Colors.
My other companion this morning is a 24-hour heart monitor to gather data, because the heart’s ejection fraction on yesterday’s echocardiogram was still 35%, not changed since October, not changed since Cleveland. Normal apparently is 50% to 70%. The monitor is gathering data to verify the echo and help the cardiologist decide between more meds and a defib pacemaker. No activity restrictions were imposed though, telling me it’s OK to change my sermons from ten minutes back to forty-five minutes. 
At a diocesan clergy conference years ago our presenter was a British bishop of the Church of England who told us blunt and frank that if we were not preaching forty-five minutes we had no business wearing the collar. Linda always times me though, and even twenty minutes is twice her patience factor. If mama ain’t happy nobody ain’t happy, so my sermon goal is ten to twelve minutes. Checked my Easter Day sermon on the HNEC website yesterday and it was 9 minutes 16 seconds. Our ten-thirty sermons are now being recorded and it’s clear that enunciation needs work: some words and syllables slip away. 
TGIF. My prayer is that your Friday is good even though Judy is changing the weather from deliciously springlike back into hot and muggy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Genesis One

Genesis One
20 And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ 21So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. 25God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
Animals inhabit our yard. Cats feral and domestic. Some resident some passing through. Snakes in Patty’s Garden. Dogs. Baby possums. Raccoons that threaten property and have to be kept out of the attic somehow. Fox now and then. Turtles, squirrels, birds. Frogs certainly. No small bears seen here yet but in the Cove. Growing up on Massalina Bayou in the 1940s was a caution: the occasional gunshot heard during breakfast signaled the end of another large alligator in the bayou down front. Or water moccasin.
Can’t be otherwise. They were all created before us and God saw that it was good. We encroach on their space and they have no place to go. And after all this is Florida: they enrich life.
26 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind* in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,* and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’
27 So God created humankind* in his image,
   in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them.
May our dominion be thoughtful and kind.
Baby possum peering bashfully from under a ceramic elephant: photo taken by Kristen on their porch yesterday.

Alligator having dominion over sheriff's patrol car in Alachua County: New York Times this morning. The ten foot gator tore the bumper off. Go Gators.