Friday, November 30, 2012

Septober


Thirty days hath Septober
April, June, and no wonder
All the rest have peanut butter
except grandmother, who was a chifferobe.
It’s a tall thing with big drawers.

Easily fathomed why the sermons are so bad when the mind is so cluttered. Advent Sunday is ominous, apocalyptic, the Time of the End is at hand and the Son of Man is coming suddenly and unexpected, yet the priest thinks about the thirty days of Septober.

Growing up, my next door neighbor was Bill Guy. His mother Mary Elizabeth Burgin Guy was a character who brought home rhymes and ditties, “Septober” being one, often spicy limericks, and sometimes jokes we didn’t get because we were too young to understand what body parts the terms referred to. She told them to Bill, who brought them outside. We did not take them home.

Brunette who chose platinum blond, MEBG was raised in Tuscaloosa and was said to have been a vivacious and popular cheerleader or majorette at the University of Alabama. Linda’s parents knew of her there. She always had lots of friends, and it was no secret that she enjoyed an overactive social life. Even in his father’s presence Bill spoke freely of “mama’s boyfriend,” different men from time to time but usually one who drove a sharp car. One was a short, fat older man, bald with a white fringe, who always picked her up in a light blue 1947 Buick convertible with the top down. Bill called him “Uncle Fred.” We were neighbors from the late thirties all the way through to the very end of the forties and it was always the same, so her ways didn’t seem unusual to us. Bill’s grandmother, Mrs. Burgin (Nanny), lived with them and raised Bill, and was a fine southern cook. I was often invited to dinner, which was the noon meal, at their house, where Bill’s father taught me how to eat a biscuit properly. You poke a hole in it with your finger, fill it with molasses and bite.

Bill’s mother dropped dead sudden and unexpected one evening in December 1949, a month short of her fortieth birthday. The memory is vivid, because I answered the phone to hear Mrs. Burgin next door in a terrible panic, crying, “Mary, get up.” My mother hurried next door and called the ambulance. But a moment later I heard Bill scream, "She's stopped breathing."

That may be why “Septober” raises apocalyptic images for me this time of year.

T+

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Utter Nonsense and Beyond*


Utter Nonsense and Beyond*

News  at YAHOO online. No worries, I’m not taking digoxin. Mitt and Barack doing lunch today, just the two of them in the White House. Maybe Mitt would like to be Secretary of Commerce or Health & Human Resources**, or maybe Mitt will get on board with the CEOs and agree he should pay more taxes, or maybe not, glass of chablis for Barry, ice water no lemon for Mitt. Dessert, tiramisu and coffee for Barry, leftover pumpkin pie and another glass of water for Mitt.

Newborn baby girl named Hashtag? HRH Kate looking wow in her green dress, and wearing bangs. Mursi getting too big for his britches, stirring second revolution. No apocalyptic cosmic cataclysm on December 21 according to NASA, 


so go ahead and decorate the Christmas tree. Kim Jong Un acclaimed as sexiest man alive; maybe he needs a socialite for honorary consul in Tampa, she has her vita out. Two tickets for the $580 million jackpot. 

UN set to recognize Palestinian state -- about time seeing that Israel and the US will otherwise block it forever posturing nonsense about negotiations instead. Marijuana: pot passed and going into effect, also about time for realism to trump political stupidity. Ice melting and sea level rising faster than expected in spite of political opposition. 

Silverman v. O’Reilly on Christianity, Christmas and Christmas trees. Mute. Click.

Thanks for the picture, Mary.
Tom

* But after all, it's my blog, isn't it.

** P. Ryan would be better for Secy HHR, he could be King Kondom

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sunday at First Lectionarian


Sunday at First Lectionarian
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13 And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
We can be quick to criticize and dismiss Christians who prooftext Scripture, quoting Bible verses out of context to prove a point or as the basis for doctrine. A relative once told me that he was saved and sure for heaven because the Bible says “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9) and that he had said it and believed it and so was saved. Having grown up with a notion of the Way of the Cross as the Way of Life and leaving whatever comes next to God, what my relative believed struck me as shallow religion if the object is to get into heaven, and an easy way to save oneself if what is required is to say something and claim to believe it. 
Indeed, Christianity whose object is to get into heaven does seem selfish, and finding a Bible verse that proves one is in seems simplistic, but my complaint was about prooftexting, and we scoffing lectionarians do it too if more subtly. We also have a creed to say and claim to believe.
Our second lesson for Advent Sunday is from First Thessalonians, Paul’s earliest extant letter. In eighty-nine verses Paul writes back to the members of a Church he founded, among other things assuaging their anxiety by assuring them that their friends and loved ones who died before the expected Second Coming have not lost out, but will be included in its promised benefits. In our inimitable style, we lectionarians have lifted five verses out of context to read, along with a snippet from Jeremiah that alludes to the day of the Lord, and a snippet from Luke’s little apocalypse; and we think we’ve given ourselves a thorough dousing in Scripture, when what we’ve actually done is check off our tradition of having a reading from the OT, and another from an Epistle, and a third from a Gospel, all molded into a common theme for the day. Yet we have learned nothing about Jeremiah and his prophecy, or about Paul and what he was saying to his friends at Thessalonica, or about what Luke has Jesus saying to his disciples outside the Temple, or about what Jeremiah or Paul or Luke and Jesus have to say that might be relevant and helpful to us. Somehow or other the preacher is expected to pick one to preach about or to draw all this together into the Advent theme if he/she is so inclined. But this coming Sunday the cat will be away, so the mouse may just introduce Saint Nicholas and invite members of the congregation to come up and sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.
TW+

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ominous



First Sunday of Advent
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of
darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of
this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit
us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come
again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the
dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.
The signs of Advent are first visual and then aural. As we come into church we notice a new color, the paraments, hangings, are purple or blue. The opening hymn may be the haunting plainsong of Veni, veni, Emmanuel, “O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.” Our prayer, the Collect for Advent Sunday at least as far back as the middle ages, is eschatological, speaks of the End of Time and the Second Coming of Christ. In our Gospel reading from Luke, Jesus warns of the coming of the Son of Man in power and great glory, a disturbing image from the night visions in Daniel chapter 7. There is a an ominous sense of finding oneself in darkening twilight and with no way to escape and little time to prepare for the unexpected. 
It is Advent. The Christmas tree is not up yet, much less is it lighted. At least give the darkness a moment to sink in, and with it the realization that whatever comes next is beyond our control and we are at the mercy of the Divine.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
TW+

Monday, November 26, 2012

SundayMonday


SundayMonday

This can be deadly and for many people has been so -- but -- so this is the end of holiday blues cautioned about this time of year and the chill early dark doesn’t help. Sunday afternoon sudden bottoming out as my girls pack, drive away and are gone, returning to -- home -- college -- life. 

Life is cycles. In Judges, creation-sin-judgment-repentence-redemption over and over. In Micah, doom-hope-doom-hope-doom-hope. At 2308, hello-goodbye. Not that the holiday is over, it’s the goodbyes and silence. Looking out across the Bay reminds that my family has done this five generations right here in this exact spot, two generations before me, then three with me, then four, now three generations, after +Time, generations beyond me. Not a time line; cycles.

Waxing -- what? -- maudlin? Give it up. Cheer up.

Anon, anon.

Anxiety ‘til the texts come, “Home now” and “We’re home!” and “I’m here.” Cheer comes with texts of safe arrival, zonked out sleep, Monday morning normal. Saved by iPhones.


Pathetic, defenseless prey: toothless, clawless, helpless Timmy the Toilet Paper Roll, unable to escape or fight back, stalked and gutted by Siamese Ernest in the absence of his tamers. Senseless slaughter.

T in +Time

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stir Up Sunday


Stir Up Sunday

Proper 29    The Sunday closest to November 23
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all
things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of
lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided
and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together
under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
“The Old Days” were different for each of us, and even from thought to thought. In the old days we had a full day of school the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and back to school on Monday; this year the schools had a whole week off, which is better except that also having a “Fall Break” is ridiculous. In the old days we got out of school the first week of May, and reported back the day after Labor Day: the old days were best. 

In the old days you went to church Sunday morning knowing exactly what was going to happen down to the last letter of the last word of the liturgy, because it was all printed in the Book of Common Prayer. Nowadays the church offers two prayer books with nine Eucharistic prayers, various lectionary choices and limitless forms of Prayers of the People, for endless liturgical variety such that it never need get boring. The new days are best.

Bread costs over a dollar a loaf, sometimes two or three dollars, which is outrageous; in the old days a loaf of bread was a dime, which was much better if you had a dime. A pound of bacon was fifty-nine cents and a dozen eggs were sixty-five cents. In the old days every car in the garage and on the road was made by “the big three” unless you drove a Nash, Hudson or Studebaker, not to mention Packard. These days most cars are made in Japan or Korea. The old days were best even if the cars weren’t.

A sense of striving for churchwide unity, ecumenism, has drawn us closer together with other “mainline” Christian denominations, with the Roman Catholic Church as defacto leader and the Consultation on Church Union and Consultation on Common Texts giving us common creeds and liturgies and psalms and lectionaries and calendars. This is true today as we observe “The Feast of Christ the King” or “Christ the King Sunday,” which will show forth in the hymns we shall sing this morning and in our lectionary. Perhaps most noticeably in our opening collect, above, which sets the tone for our worship. 

Christ the King Sunday was given to us by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in response to concern about growing nationalism and secularism, including fascist movements in Europe. The date was fixed in 1969 by Pope Paul VI as the last Sunday in the Church Year. It’s pretty good and in some churches they will stand and sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.” In the old days we had no such observance. In fact, this was unofficially “Stir Up Sunday” based on the then-collect for the day:

The Sunday next before Advent.
The Collect.
STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And therefore the custom in the old days, anticipating the feasting of the Holiday Season, was to go home after church and stir up candied fruits into various kinds of cake batters, pour it into loaf pans, and stick it in the oven to bake, yielding jewel-like fruit cakes to be enjoyed throughout the Days of Christmas. At our house I was the mixer, the stirrer. The fruit cakes were delicious and the old days were best.

Tom in +Time 



Saturday, November 24, 2012

THUNDERBIRD


Thunderbird

Along with pics of a 1938 Buick, Joe sent me a car picture recently that stirred old memories. 


June 1957 I graduated from the University of Florida and was entering the Navy, slated into Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. Starting the first week of July, it would be four months, then whatever the Navy had in mind for me after that and no telling when I might see Panama City again. Life was young and its prospects exciting. 

Linda and I had gotten engaged in December, but had not scheduled or begun to plan our wedding. I had asked Mr. Peters if we could get engaged and he had graciously given his consent. Upon graduation, and with Navy plans moving so fast, we decided to be married before I left for Newport. We selected June 29, which was just about three weeks away. When the wedding date was presented to Linda’s father, his reaction was, “What? I agreed to your becoming engaged. Nobody said anything about getting married.” And he was right. In December I had asked him if we could get engaged, deliberately not saying the word “marry,” because I was afraid that would be a deal breaker. But he relented and everything moved in a flash.

At the time, Joe Parrott, who had been in the fish business briefly with my father, was selling cars at Cook Ford on Harrison Avenue, and he always had a demonstrator, which I always coveted. At the time, his demo was a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, red with a white top. The top had one of those tiny round windows, and it could be unclipped and lifted off. It was beyond “to covet,” it was to die for. But I had a hundred dollars cash to my name and a 1948 Dodge  that my parents had bought new in May 1948 and gave me September 1956 when I went to my senior year at Gainesville, and the hope of a prospective new Navy ensign’s monthly salary of $222.30. So, no T-Bird. But Joe lent us the T-Bird for our wedding “get-away car.” 


Hiding it so it wouldn’t be desecrated with soap “JUST MARRIED” and have shoes tied behind, I gave the key to my brother Walt and he brought it to the wedding reception just in time for us newlyweds to get in and drive away, escaping for our honeymoon -- a week at Katharine Laughlin’s beach cottage.


After graduating from OCS and being commissioned Ensign, USNR, we came home to Panama City for Christmas. As the Dodge was giving us reliability problems, part of the visit was to buy a new car. Joe Parrott was still with Cook Ford, and now his demo was a red 1957 Ford convertible. Had it not been for the continental kit on the back, which to me was super-tacky, the car would have been almost irresistible, except that when I brought it home Linda’s mother exclaimed, “NO CONVERTIBLES.” 


Back it went and Joe got us a new 1958 Ford Custom 300 tudor sedan, blue and white. Our first new car. Plain vanilla.

Over the years, Ford offered the Thunderbird in various styles. 







In 1967 the Thunderbird was offered as a four door sedan, stylishly like the Lincoln, with “suicide doors.” 


We bought one of those the next time we were stationed in Newport, Rhode Island, and drove it some years. Ours was white with a dark blue vinyl roof. Nice. But we had unending electrical problems with it.

Best of course was the original two-passenger coupe. From 1958 and from then on it became a four-passenger coupe or convertible, the style evolving from its beginning in 1955 to final production for 1997. Starting with a flash, it went out a puff of ordinary smoke.


Ford brought the T-Bird back for the 2002 model year and produced it until 2005. It was meant to resemble the original. 



With the Mustang, the T-Bird isn’t needed in Ford’s lineup and we may not see it again.

TW   

  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday, Prayers, & The End Time


Black Friday, Prayers, & The End Time

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 (KJV)

9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
As we come to the end of Lectionary Year B and face the Advent of Year C, some of our Bible readings are vividly apocalyptic about the End Time. This, including the Second Coming or parousia, was something that some in the New Testament age, including St. Paul and arguably even Jesus himself, believed was imminent; but that over years of nothing happening was set quietly, perhaps even “embarrassingly so don’t talk about it anymore,” on a theological back shelf as the Church had to face into an unexpected future and teach people about living instead of frantically preparing for the Eschaton. 

The End Time has become for us part of some vague cosmic event which modern astronomers talk about happening untold billions of lightyears hence as our universe, still rapidly expanding from the Big Bang, slows and cools and dies, chilling off into an absolute zero at which no matter can exist and there will be nothing, not even a trace, perhaps not even empty space. It’s exciting to study and contemplate, but nothing to get upset about this morning, so go ahead and shop Black Friday.

Each of us, however, every human, comes up against our own apocalypse, our own personal End Time. It may come sudden and unexpected, natural or catastrophic; or it may come through advanced old age, or it may come in extended terminal illness of disease. But it comes. And while most folks go about the business of life, some few go about the business of dying and death, among them we/us clergy as an ongoing role of ministry.

The liturgical Church does not place its clergy (and people) well fixed for this role. In that prayers are primarily for those who are praying and not to tell God what to do, we have prayers for almost every situation in life, including for healing in body, mind and spirit, for “last rites” at time of death, and for commendation thereafter as friends and loved ones gather at graveside. But we do not have suitable prayers for the terminally ill. We do not have thoughtful prayers for living into our personal End Time.  

This comes to mind at this season of Bible readings about the End Time that is so unreal cosmically and yet so personal. Our church spends much time and resources on prayer. General Convention 2012 made available --  language they used instead of saying “authorized,” at least in part to avoid theological issues -- liturgy for the loss of a beloved pet or other animal. They did a nice enough job. But one might prefer they had invested their good work in giving us prayers for people, and their friends and loved ones, whose medical condition is terminal and who are facing death, when praying for physical healing can seem ignorant, naive and unrealistic, even border on ludicrous. Well and good saying “there’s always hope,” and praying for healing in body, mind and spirit as our prayers do provide. But there comes time to face reality honestly and to help folks live prayerfully and fearlessly into the personal end time as their own apocalypse looms -- and when it’s not yet time for “last rites” at time of death. That is, prayers for courage and calm, confidence and peace. For acceptance, even resignation to “it’s how it is.” General Convention and its Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music could have better invested time, talent and treasure.

Euphemistically calling it, “Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships,” General Convention 2012 also authorized, effective Advent 2012, liturgy for blessing same sex unions, acknowledging Advent as the beginning of the new. Last Sunday (Proper 28), and this coming Sunday with the above reading from Daniel chapter 7, and a week away, the first Sunday of Advent, our Bible lessons are foreboding and apocalyptic; and again, instead of what General Convention actually did -- giving us prayers about pets or same sex unions, which as a parish priest I never expect to need -- prayers for helping folks face grave illness and deal with near approaching death would have been much more pastoral and helpful, and timely, and welcome.

The Episcopal Church tries earnestly, sometimes certitudinously, to do the right thing, often to mixed response. Instead of just being on the fighting edge on social fronts, I do wish that some of the resources we put into such forging ahead would be devoted to subjects that seem just as, or more, needed pastorally by the pastors. I’m not against what General Convention did, I just didn’t need it as a priest and pastor, and I needed something else more, and they didn’t help me.

TW+ 

Postscript. This stirs in part because, while the preferred Episcopal and Roman Catholic and Revised Common Lectionary Old Testament reading for this coming Sunday is the above selection from Daniel 7, the alternate reading is from 2 Samuel, and some numbnuts (let the reader look it up) selling lectionary inserts dropped the Daniel 7 reading and has us reading 2 Samuel instead, for Chrissake. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thursday at 2308


Thursday at 2308

There’s no pumpkin pie or turkey aroma in the house this morning, because two years ago we set our Thanksgiving Day as the First Saturday after the Fourth Thursday in November. Malinda is at work. Ray has gone to Tallahassee for Thanksgiving Day with Holly and her family. Joe is in Dayton with Lauren and Daniel visiting Patty’s family. Dinner today will be Nana’s Usual Meatloaf, with me, Linda, and Kristen.

Now the fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving seems early because this year there’s a fifth Thursday. Having it down later in the month gives a little more time for there to be an autumn chill in the air, which seems right for Thanksgiving even here on the Florida Gulf Coast. And moves it closer to Christmas, the Holidays. Shopping Days Until.

My third-favorite holiday as a boy (#2 was the first day of Christmas Vacation and #1 the first day of Summer Vacation), my best memories are of this day starting with the spicy aroma of pumpkin pie coming into my bedroom, and the sound of my mother moving around busily in the kitchen downstairs. Life doesn’t get any more secure than that. My own Our Town.

Thanksgiving wasn’t always the Fourth Thursday. In November 1917, President Woodrow Wilson designated Thursday, November 29 as the national day of thanksgiving and prayer. The world was at war. My uncle Alfred had recently turned eighteen. On this day that year, Thursday, November 22, 1917, he was looking toward one more Thanksgiving Day. That’s in my mind this dawn.

Pumpkin pie aroma will waft Saturday morning.

Blessings and Peace.
TW

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve 32320


Thanksgiving Eve 32320

One of the nicest services in my memory is Thanksgiving Eve in Apalachicola. Two to three decades ago and details slip my mind, but for some years we ministers had it as a community service, moving around to different churches and always a big congregation. One year at Trinity Episcopal, First Baptist, St. Patrick Catholic, First UMC. One year we had it at a church out on Brownsville Road, either First Assembly of God or First Pentecostal Holiness, they are just a block or so apart and I can’t remember which. Pastor was a transplanted Canadian who had grown up Anglican and still secretely longed for it. One year we had it at the Love Center, an African-American holiness church, and it was nothing short of good, holy, exuberant, spirit-filled fun. 

Eventually it died out, there was nothing for a year or two or three, then we tried a Thanksgiving Eve service just at Trinity, and it was well attended so we kept it going. Evening Prayer with lots of Thanksgiving hymns that people loved but only got to sing that one time a year. In a small town people can leave home, drive up and park, and fill up the church all in a period of five minutes. So no big deal getting to church and home. 

The small size and relative isolation of the community made it family close, easy and enjoyable for local things to happen. And for old culture to cling, people liked things as they were and always had been. When Linda, Tass and I moved there in 1984 we found Apalachicola the same as it had been forty years earlier when I went there often with my father in his fish truck to buy oysters and shrimp. 

Things change of course, not to say evolve, but soon after we retired and moved away a traffic light was installed at one of the intersections, the first and only one in town. And the Ford dealership closed. 

The population of Apalachicola was 2,500, a small town closely gathered by Apalachicola Bay and Apalachicola River, and bound by paper company forest on the west, so nowhere to expand. Eastpoint is five miles across the bridge, Port St. Joe twenty miles west on US 98. 

If I were going to change Apalachicola in any way, I’d open a car dealership, and take down the traffic light. And reopen Chapman as a high school.

That’s about it.

Oh, I’d move Wesley back, and the Watkins. And George Chapel

T still moving through +Time  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful


Seems a bit circular when one’s thanksgiving is for a daughter’s safe arrival home from college for Thanksgiving as happened last evening when Kristen drove up. Looking back to Thanksgivings during other college years, when Tass was at college in Virginia and only had the long weekend, Linda and I loved going to Lynchburg to be with her. Turkey dinner at some restaurant or other. Visiting the places we enjoyed the four years she was there. One year, our motel room window looked out on the parking lot of a large shopping center where a crowd started gathering Thanksgiving Day afternoon for the Black Friday sale the next morning, my only close observation of that frantic bargain lust that has become as much an institution as the turkey. Autumn in Lynchburg was always fun. So was winter and spring. Anytime, anywhere in life is fun when someone you love is there. 
My first visit to Lynchburg was Spring 1955 as a sophomore at the University of Florida. I was nineteen, same age Kristen is now. Two of my KA fraternity brothers had girlfriends at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, where Linda was a freshman. The three of us drove up from Gainesville, leaving after class, all night drive and I got the midnight-to-four driving shift while they slept, for a spring ball weekend. Coming from the enormity of the Florida campus, R-MWC was a charming place, and it still was in 1990 when Tass arrived. 
Thankful for the years of life. For Norman and Bill. For all those I love and have loved, and for those who have loved me. And for +Time.
Thanks be to God.
Tom

Monday, November 19, 2012

time-turner

In easy memory, the only way to get your news was to read the newspaper, listen to the radio, go to the Ritz Theatre and watch the newsreels. This morning the news can be read and watched anywhere in the world real time as it happens, rocket by rocket, on one’s choice of sources with a magic marvel on one's lap. At the moment, The Jerusalem Post.



Most Americans probably have affinity for Jews and the Jewish people, though not necessarily thinking Israel is always right. The brutality goes both ways in Palestine and seems beyond settling except temporarily by unending ceasefires in response to endless flareups, and why can’t everybody just be nice doesn’t cool deep-seated hatreds. 

With inexcusable history an unchangeable error but fact of life, Israel needs to roll cross the border into Gaza, take down Hamas, destroy all fortresses and remove all weapons. 



In a Harry Potter world a time-turner might turn history back to April 1945, then as war reparations and Holocaust justice, deport the German population for dispersion throughout the world, resettle Germany as Israel, and leave the Palestinians alone. Anyone who is not Biblically illiterate knows that such would have been a scriptural settlement of post-WWII issues.

Absent a time-turner, endless blood.

C1 and C2 are taken with my time-turner that Amy brought me during my time before +Time. They can’t have it, because it’s my own treasure and charm and its place is hanging on the wall beside my bed. But this week they will come over from Tallahassee for our annual Thanksgiving Saturday, and can hold and play with it. Who knows.

T+ thankfully in +Time

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Apocalypse - Beast consumes Ducks & Wildcats


Apocalypse

Mark chapter 13, from which this morning’s gospel reading is taken, is known as the “little apocalypse” -- The Apocalypse itself being the earthshaking events of the Book of Revelation, the word ἀποκάλυψις meaning “revelation.” 

We think of apocalyptic writing as vividly descriptive revelation of violent shakeup that will happen at the End of Time. But apocalypse can happen to anyone at anytime. For myself, I knew it this past spring and summer in the earthshaking deaths of beloved friends. It came upon some Americans on the evening of election day as the electoral vote count began to shift on the TV screen and then slid into the Pacific Ocean. It came on a brilliant four-star general at some point in 2011 when he let his heart get the best of his head, and then crashed down when FBI agents walked into his office to ask embarrassing questions. It came in a fluke last week for #1 when a touchdown pass was intercepted at the goal line and the Tide rolled out. Apocalypse came yuk yuk yuk suddenly and incredibly last night as Wildcats and Ducks both got gobbled up by the Beast on the same day. 

My earliest memory of Notre Dame is of going to the Ritz Theatre to see Pat O’Brien star in Knute Rockne, All American. O’Brien and Ronald Reagan winning one for the Gipper. I was about six years old at the time and for weeks afterward neighborhood boys daydreamed about going to Notre Dame. My ND recollection is of powerhouse teams through the 1940s, my childhood and growing up years.

Apocalyptic for BCS this morning. Post-apocalyptic maybe the SEC Tide will roll back in. 

TW

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Reds & Skaleenees

Soon everybody may give up blaming someone else, a symptom of narcissism. Mitt blaming Barack for causing him to lose the election was over the top. 

This map makes no sense. Neat but meaningless. At least, whoever did it colored in the lines. But it's meaningless --


-- because Florida is so 50/50 that if, on the way to the polls on election day, three cars had had a flat tire , we would have been Red instead of Blue. Whatever, this is a better map for the GOP to work with -- either get busy, guys,



or RIP with Millard Fillmore and the Whigs.


Gaza and Israel are perpetually warring because after WWII the big nations ripped the Palestinians out of their homeland, deported them to eternal refugee camps and there abandoned them, and gave their land to become Israel. The resentment and hatred are beyond time and resolution. 

From the beach car show a friend sent me pics of a 1957 Ford Skyliner. 




Ford Skyliner was a retractable convertible offered for 1957, ’58 and ’59





Blue 1958 above, red 1959 below




More than half a century later the retractable convertible top design is perfected in VW, Volvo, Pontiac, Chrysler, Mazda and other convertibles. Original, Ford Skyliner. Not Skyline.

Skyline is the chili chain in Cincinnati. Skyline. Better pronounced “skaleenees.” In Cincy it's Skaleenees and the Reds.





On a bitter cold day in January 2010 I stopped in Cincinnati and had a Skaleenee's cheese coney just like that.

Rooting favorites today. Stanford Cardinal, Sam Houston, Wake Forest, Baylor. Rooting not betting.


Sunday School tomorrow: like the annual Going Out Of Business sale, the annual End of Time.

T+



Friday, November 16, 2012

ἀποκάλυψις


Apocalypse

Daniel 12:1-3 (NIV)

The End Times
1 At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

Mark 13:1-8 (NIV)

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
1 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
A husband and wife get away for a romantic weekend to celebrate her fortieth birthday. Someone turns on TV Breaking News and Apocalypse destroys them.

Apocalyptic novels may open with a personal vignette, a peaceful scene. The husband and father (these days wife and mother) is departing for two-week military reserve drill and there are plans for a family vacation upon return. Lovers are at the airport saying goodbyes as one leaves on a short assignment, they will soon be reunited, the future is sure. Irrelevantly in the background, trouble is brewing in the Middle East, a confrontation builds over several days, escalates, erupts, explodes into conflagration that instantly becomes global. Future vaporizes.

Here at the end of the Church Year our Lectionary readings suddenly turn ominous. In a time of peace cosmic clouds gather, darken, and the End Time looms. That is what’s happening in our Sunday readings, as we look toward Advent with its simultaneous anticipation of the Second Coming and celebration of the First Coming.

Meanwhile, timely enough, on the world scene tempers flare as Hamas and Israel escalate hostilities and the Egyptian PM hurries to Gaza to try and ease tensions. TV news shows a distraught young man holding the body of his eleven-month-old son, a war casualty, is he Jewish or Palestinian? He's human, until today he was a father. Civil war in Syria overflows onto neighbors. Intelligence agency director resigns and prepares to face the home front. A security clearance is cancelled. In Tampa a socialite’s cardboard mansion collapses. Apocalypse Now may be for a region, for nations, for the world, for a family, for a suddenly not powerful man, or a woman whose world tumbles in a matter of seconds. On TV Breaking News or in a telephone call.

Apocalypse - ἀποκάλυψις - is revelation, bringing on the End Time. Not to raise drama, but the End Time comes for each of us. It may come for anyone at anytime in any form. Especially when least expected. Our character, what we are, may show less in what happens than in our response. 

TW+