Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vivat imperator

Vivat Imperator
Seizing the Moral High Ground 
after Shock and Awe

Origins of topsy turvy are obscure and John Kerry is a powerful advocate for trust me on this one. But topsy turvy defines Washington reason on attacking Syria for using chemical weapons. Politicians against are for, politicians for are against, not per reason but per blind political loyalty or blind hatred for the president. 

It’s no longer about punishment for using sarin, it’s now about the American president losing credibility if he backs down on his red line statement. 

If the US attacks Syria, nothing positive is accomplished in the Syrian civil war or for peace in the Middle East, more children are killed by our Tomahawks than by their sarin, Bashar is dared not cowed, relations with other nations are strained, USA is self-styled world policeman Ugly American, al-Qaeda in Syria is strengthened militarily and politically, excuses are contrived to attack Israel, DOD costs out of control and out of proportion to vital national interests, regional hatred of America is enflamed. And there is no end to it. 


If the U.S. attacks Syria, the American president won’t have egg on his face.
A mark of a man is whether he can admit to a mistake: running off his mouth and drawing lines in the sand when he should have been watching Honey Boo Boo

Barak v. Bashar at ten paces.


Friday, August 30, 2013

CFB, hotdogs, apple pie and ...

Football hotdogs apple pie and ...

Lightning storm delay, don’t care, an infuriating jab in the eye ESPN shifting to Ole Miss Vanderbilt last night from Gamecocks over North Carolina. 

A win is a win, but the morning headline should say Gamecocks win 27-10, Clowney helps some instead of Clowney, 6th-ranked Gamecocks win 27-10. But a win is a win and it was a great game for a season opener.   

No NFL fan by any means, but cut Tebow after he threw two winning touchdowns against the Giants ending it 28-20? Hopefully not, to participate in newly resigned misuse of the word. Four and five years ago who thought Tim would be hanging on precariously as 3rd string QB for New England. Facts are irrelevant, for a Gator, being for Tebow is like being for your brother. Team to hate: Denver Broncos.

Bubba’s teams tomorrow, Buffalo (cheering not betting). Not watching BigBlue beat up on Central. Clemson. Got no patience for Gators v. Toledo cupcake starters, which, no offense but brings to mind Romans hustling Jesus off to Calvary. Go Tigers beat Cougars.

Someone wrote that all Logan Thomas needs to beat Tide is confidence. LOL. Hokies then Aggies, are the elephants playing football or marbles? TG elephants don’t play gators.

Almost! Headline of the day OSU almost looking like an SEC team. Go Buffalo, SDState, Calif, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa, PennState, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, beat Meyer.

Headline US may go it alone against Syria? What megalomania is this that takes over men’s minds? Do we have a christ complex? Yes. Are we insane? Clearly. Have we learned nothing? Obviously.

... Pontiac? Oldsmobile? Mercury? DeSoto? Plymouth?


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is that You, God?

Is that You, God?

Jeremiah 2:4-13 (NRSV) 4 Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the Lord:
What wrong did your ancestors find in me
    that they went far from me,
and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
They did not say, “Where is the Lord
    who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
    in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
    in a land that no one passes through,
    where no one lives?”
I brought you into a plentiful land
    to eat its fruits and its good things.
But when you entered you defiled my land,
    and made my heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, “Where is the Lord?”
    Those who handle the law did not know me;
the rulers transgressed against me;
    the prophets prophesied by Baal,
    and went after things that do not profit.
Therefore once more I accuse you,
says the Lord,
    and I accuse your children’s children.
Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
    send to Kedar and examine with care;
    see if there has ever been such a thing.
Has a nation changed its gods,
    even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
    for something that does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
    be shocked, be utterly desolate,
says the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
    they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living water,
    and dug out cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns
    that can hold no water.

Oh my goodness. Our first reading for Sunday is a disaster, was for Jerusalem, may be realized so for us. Many Christians believe the Bible means what it says, that it is not just quaint poetry, lyricism from the ancients, but the word of God for us today. A typical Episcopalian, my tendency is to take a historical critical view in reading the Bible and in my Bible seminars. From that view I may miss the very voice of God, especially in that history is cyclical. And not simply God's voice, but God's warning, because this passage seethes with divine anger. It may be a word for me individually, but in Jeremiah’s oracle God is speaking to the nation. How coincidental can it be, this oracle surfacing in a nation that seems to be donning its badge of world ruler, taking off its gloves and eagerly rolling up its sleeves for permanent war, while whining that it cannot afford and has no moral, ethical call to look after its own children.

Worthless, in a wilderness of deserts and pits, of droughts and deep darkness? 

Is that you, God? Speak up, can't hear you.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Predawns. Love is something you do.

First thing this morning is the corrected date for starting our new Wednesday programs at Holy Nativity: September 25th, not 18th. +Time post for yesterday is corrected.

75 F and 51% for August predawn is tolerable enough to return to the outside back screen porch for the first time since spring. Occasional car passes by on 9th Street, some poor soul on the way to work. Love: First Daughter gets the newspaper from the street, brings it over and lays it on our back porch. 

Part of life is predawns. Navy years, in motels on our way home from Wherever to Panama City, Linda rousing our family while it is yet pitch black dark outside and having us on the road by quarter-to-four. That always happened rushing home to PC, never on the way back to Wherever.

Mid-nineteen-forties in the 1937 Chevrolet fish truck with my father, on the way to south Florida to pick up bream or perch, early morning dark, still tasting egg breakfast my mother had fixed for me, now an hour later huddled in my jacket and scrunching down on the floorboard of the truck, a converted army ambulance from World War II, because it’s chilly in the predawn and the truck has no heater. On the firewall between passenger cab and engine compartment is a grill that can be slid open, allowing in a bit of the engine’s warmth, enough to keep off the shivers. From time to time, hearing the sound of the ring-tail-goofus, an elusive animal with wheels instead of legs, that runs alongside the truck just out of sight in the woods. The R-T-G has brown fur and is identifiable by the black ring around its bushy tail. They are so shy and elusive that no one has ever seen one, but you know there’s one out there when you hear that sound. I never was able to catch my father making the noise, but I was always pretty sure it was him. But with the ring-tail-goofus you never know for sure. 

Danang harbor early 1970 topside predawn. Navy divers swimming around the ship all night long against sappers attaching explosives to the hull. In the nearby mountains, U.S. planes dropping explosives on a target. Down here at pierside I see the flash, seconds later comes the whump.

Before dawn, January 13, 1993. 
The baby’s here. 
Boy or girl? 
Come see. 
I have to know right now
You have a little girl. ... Does anyone want to hold her? 
Yes, me, I do. Get away, woman, you can hold her later. 

Love is a feeling. Bonding with a child.

Lights come on, a bell chimes. Cabin attendant announces Good morning! Breakfast is being served, we will be landing in Sydney in less than an hour. Qantas has the most interesting meals. Stretch, rub eyes, look out the window, blackness. Light shortly, Sydney Harbor and the Opera House come into view, then blue swimming pools and red tile roofs below, wet from predawn rain. Just for this approach and landing, I always asked for a window seat on the left side.

Predawn quiet in the hospice house the gurgling rattle stops. I call Linda in from the hallway and we have the prayers at time of death. Depart, O Christian soul, out of this world, in the Name of God the Father who created you, in the Name ...

Out of season, a memory. In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary ...


About Love that is a feeling. Bonding with a child, I've found that the child, growing, growing, grown and gone, gets over it; but I never do, never have. It's the sort of love that seems to go only one way. It's a heartbreaker!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coming Up!

Clear at the moment, five o’clock, 72 F and 67%. More perfect and cool early mornings this time next month, late September? Google weather says today will slip down to 68 F by seven o’clock, then start up, 86 F by noon or so. Pleasant enough out here on the front porch, borderline sticky. Weather page has one of these

for today and another one for tomorrow.

Just before noon yesterday Joe wanted to drive out to Pepper Palace at Pier Park. Lunch was to be leftovers, so Linda stuck it back in the refrigerator and before going to PP at PP we had seafood at the Sandbar, on 79 at “the Y” just a block back from Front Beach Road. Linda had grouper sandwich, Joe had oyster basket, instead of my usual steamed oysters and steamed royal red shrimp I had a seafood caesar salad with clams, oysters, shrimp. Last time, I went there with a friend and he had that salad. It looked good and was, but arrived twice the size I remembered, enlarging today’s luncheon selection of leftovers.

My Sunday to preach. Sermon or homily? Sunday before last at Trinity, Apalachicola we were just about to start the eight o’clock service when Frank, another retired commander who started helping me there at eight o’clock when he retired from the Navy twenty or so years ago, told me the rector doesn’t preach from the pulpit at eight o’clock, but goes down into the center aisle for a chit-chat about the lessons. On the spur of the moment I tried it, uneasy about my experience that any fool preacher can shorten a twelve-minute prepared sermon into a thirty-minute ramble. First time I’ve ever re-prepared my sermon on the way down the aisle in procession.

Four weeks from tomorrow, September 25 we’ll start our new Wednesday morning and evening events at Holy Nativity. Replacing the Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon Bible seminars that I had in prior years, we’ll have healing eucharist at 11:30 followed by lunch with Bible study and adjourning promptly at 12:30. The Bible studies probably will focus on the Bible readings for each upcoming Sunday.

Also starting September 25, our informal Wednesday evening events will begin with eucharist at 5:30, supper after. It's going to be fun, and I don't recall ever before looking forward so much to a new fall program.

Pinkish gray sky, partly cloudy, 68 F and humidity 95%, flat Bay.  


Monday, August 26, 2013

Cadillac w/o Radio

After retiring from the Navy nearly 36 years ago, I was recruited to work with a so-called beltway bandit, a consulting firm in Virginia doing contract work for the government. It was a small company and I got to know the owner, himself also a retired naval officer. One day I rode someplace with him in his Cadillac, and noticed that it didn’t have a radio. No radio? He said his wife’s car had a radio, but he had ordered his car without a radio to prevent himself from turning it on as he drove to work mornings and hearing the news that inevitably would distract him, make him less productive, and ruin his day with things about which he could do nothing but worry and be upset. 

During silent retreats this summer it was simple to do daily +Time blog postings. MacBook was easiest with a full size keyboard and process that is more intuitive for me, but when there was no WiFi there was always 3G for the iPad. My daily habit was to post to my +Time blog, then go to CaringBridge and post to my CB Journal a daily notice and link to +Time so that friends who were counting on the early morning CB notification “ding” would know the +Time posting was up. 

In the middle of June, CB admin did a major enhancement. When they finished, my CaringBridge page would no longer accept Journal updates or Photo changes (still will not two months later). Trying several days, I finally gave it up and started posting a daily notification and link on my Facebook page, though it no longer reached the same folks, because friends my age pretty much don’t do Facebook.

Although I’d had a Facebook page for several years I’d never posted on it other than the initial setup. I’d always accepted friend requests but never scrolled down to read what friends and friends’ friends were posting. However, the middle of June when I started posting on Facebook a daily notification and link to my +Time blog, I started scrolling down my Facebook page to see what was there. Informative, I saw why it’s called a social networking website, good for keeping in touch. Don’t understand it making the owners multi-billionaires, don’t need to understand, it’s the way it is.

Sometimes informative and fun, Facebook soon reminded me why I’d not made it a habit early on. Reading that it was time to take clothes out of the dryer. Finding a religious soapbox reminiscent of nutfringe soapbox preachers I used to pass on the sidewalk across the street from St. Andrews Anglican Cathedral in Sydney. Reading that it was time to head off to WalMart. In my mind, wondering whether inanity is still a word. Reading political rantings so discourteous, unkind, certitudinous, searing with anger, hatred, so ineffective as argument, discussion, debate, persuasion, as to mark what has tragically become NewAmerican. Seeing this is so disappointing, discouraging and depressing, and when read early in the morning so ruinous to my day, that I have to give it up, the scrolling down and occasional commenting.

A longstanding practice around here is helpful to my mental health! Knowing how down I get reading or seeing something in which a child is hurt or killed, my family protect me! They change the TV channel and disappear newspaper pages! “Don’t let Dad read that.” They wouldn’t let me read The Shack and others. Some Facebook postings have been so negative and have brought me so far down that I’m giving it up permanently and relying on Linda to let me know if there’s something I ought to know or would enjoy. Because several have asked me to do so, I’ll continue making my daily postings, but it’ll be post-and-run. +Time, which is the post-game extra time I’m now playing in until the Referee blows the whistle, is too dear to spend it down in the dumps anguishing over horrendous, rude, inhumane things that people in their political, social and religious certitude say to others and about others, and about others' ideas and opinions and views, things that I can’t help or do anything about except weep.

It’s a beautiful day. Instead of driving along Beach Drive as usual, on the way to my Monday morning meeting, this is a day to stop by and say hello to a couple of friends. I wonder if they miss me as much as I miss them.


Sunday, August 25, 2013



Proper 16    The Sunday closest to August 24
Grant, we beseech thee, merciful God, that thy Church, being gathered together in unity by thy Holy Spirit, may manifest thy power among all peoples, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
Reworked from a Gregorian (590-604 A.D.) collect that the church not be disturbed by assault of the enemy, today’s collect prays that a united church may show God’s power throughout the world. Prayer for church unity seeming utterly futile, a better hope was expressed in the adult Sunday school class at Trinity, Apalachicola last Sunday morning when friend Kristin Anderson suggested harmony instead of unity. Harmony might mean Christians of all different views getting along and living peaceably together instead of behaving so badly toward each other and believing everyone else must be like oneself - the opposite of humility. 
In harmony there might be less tension, little condemnation, and no hatred between rich and dependent, between straight and LGBT, between liberal and conservative, among white and black, Hispanic, Asian, ..., between pro-life and pro-choice, among Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, ..., between Democrats and Republicans, Red and Blue, less acrimony and more graciousness, less darkness and more light.
Answer to prayer coming by God's action within us, harmony might manifest right here in the Episcopal Church with the recovery of Anglican Chant, a musical embodiment of harmony in worship. 
Apologetically pinched on line.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

To Die For

I Said Not To Say That

Jonathan Turley and “Are You Ready For Some Football?” messing with the NFL, our crocodile tears about on the field injuries to our opponents v. gleeful thumbs down for Roman gladiators, stirs that CFB is a week away. Labor Day Holiday Weekend openers. Thursday, NC TarHeels. Saturday, Toledo Rockets and CMUChippewas, get serious, why do we do this? because we love beating up on and bloody thumbs down. MAC: loves die-for-dollars and ultimately there’s something christological about sacrificial lambs returning to class on Tuesday morning. Most semi-serious game, VaTechHokies, but my team will be Buffalo Bulls. Not to say “Go Pitt.”

Schedule conflict. Auburn Tigers 2013 schedule: Saturday, December 7, SEC Championship Game, Georgia Dome, Atlanta. Sorry, Tigers, I’ve already inked in to preach that weekend.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Just For The Moment

From the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, Linda, Tass and I arrived in Apalachicola twenty-nine years ago this summer, as I reported in to become Vicar of Trinity Episcopal Church for the next fourteen years. Some months before we arrived I had wrestled with two calls, whether to accept this pulpit and Altar or St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. Linda had had her heart set on that beautiful old stone church, matching rectory, and stone parish house on a quiet block in that lovely Pennsylvania Deutsch Country town with the Amish folk near by and in easy reach of her Harrisburg friends. She had driven over from Harrisburg several times to imagine where our furniture would go and measure for rugs and draperies, and parishioners had arranged for Tassy's acceptance and gifted classes in the local school. 

We had been just days from accepting that call when my mother phoned to tell me the Apalachicola pulpit was vacant. The story is longer than that, but Linda and I had had a pact, laid on by me I suppose, that at the right time after Navy retirement we would move home to Panama City. All those Navy years, every time we had leave, we came home to Panama City where I was born and grew up, and where I longed to return. Not a Florida or Panama City native, Linda was less certain and absolute in her desire to come back, but the dream and determination never left me.

On one occasion, in Florida to teach one of my graduate political science courses at the University of West Florida, I discussed my struggle with my parents, a struggle because it was ripping and tearing and tense in our home; and I remember my father saying of the Apalachicola church, “Bubba, that may be your destiny.” That didn’t decide for me, but it opened a new perspective as I wondered, "Are you speaking to me again, Lord?" 

The story has been told here before, that upon returning from Florida to Harrisburg that week, I went directly to my bishop’s office and informed him of my call to Trinity, Apalachicola and my decision to accept it. Bishop Charlie McNutt, who had served some years as Canon to the Ordinary for the Bishop of Florida in Jacksonville when Trinity was part of that diocese, looked at me stunned and said, “Apalachicola? I know it well. It’s the end of the earth. Whatever will you do there?” I said, “I’ll eat oysters and mullet.” He said, “And when you get tired of oysters and mullet what will you do?” In that instant God confirmed my decision as I realized there was no point in trying to explain to this kindly friend, not a Floridian, that one who has grown up on the Florida Gulf Coast never ever gets tired of oysters and mullet!

Tass was twelve years old, entering seventh grade, when we arrived. She grew up there, graduated from Apalachicola High School, which was good for her and to her, went away to college, met and married Jeremy, and moved away before Linda and I did.

We retired from parish ministry in 1998 and moved home to Panama City, still and always remembering our fourteen years in Apalachicola as a highlight. Last Friday, a week ago, we returned for the weekend, staying in the rectory, and filling in for the rector, who is away on sabbatical. Caroline and Charlotte learned about the house where their mother grew up, and the church where she was married. Immediately upon arriving the girls ran through the old 1900 house, upstairs to their mother's old bedroom and I overheard a shout, "It's awesome!" 

It is.

It was a perfect revisiting and welcoming back, a welcome of pure love. We were thankful for the blessing of being there again for the moment, a lovely place and the only town that nudges Panama City for center of my heart! 


Thursday, August 22, 2013


Gametime category: ballots or bullets

Jeopardy Answer: a stingless male bee that can’t even gather honey and is Good For Nothing but Mating

A weblog is where one might rant opinions, hopes, anger, frustrations, disgust. My blog is peaceful, or that’s the intent, dissect some obscure Bible passage, cars I love, reminisce on Panama City half to three quarter century ago, political frustration. Sling mud at some creed. Sadness at how people stoop -- no slither -- to treat each other and speak to and about each other when it’s anonymous. Horror at raging political wingnuts on Facebook, it’s about time to take it down. 

Friends who suspect my politics also know my view that my views are neither more nor less valid than the views of anyone else with a mind. With a mind. Online, rude, arrogant, mindless certitude lacks humility, intelligence or humanity, any and all. Not to read it, much less comment and Become One.

Here this morning with a post about cars, but heart and soul sad about other things. This may go the way of much that gets written one day, wisely stored, even more wisely trashed unpublished next morning. But this is next morning.

Unless the government can show injury to Americans in the war zones, Manning’s sentence is excessive. Oh, but he broke the law? History proves law is the tool of despot bullies. All government is always all bad in all ways and deserves to be exposed, embarrassed, humiliated when caught squatting with pants down classifying government sneakiness and dishonesty as secret. A ten year sentence would have been symbolic enough, and quietly release him after five years with credit for time served and double or triple credit for that part of his time served that was illegal. Manning is a pathetic being easy to bully and his prosecutor the USG is even more pathetic. Manning’s sentence signals Edward Snowden to keep running if he has any brains, but he may just have a brainless lust for media attention.

In retrospect of Manning’s courtmartial sentence for injuring nobody but splashing egg on faces, if Major Nidal Hassan's courtmartial sentence is not appropriate to the Fort Hood atrocity, we may know it’s time to overthrow the USG. Hassan deserves to be beyond all possibility of prisoner exchange, but his sentence may show the USG white feather. Not to mention Sgt Bales.

Arm Syrian rebels? There is no right side, such opportunity is gone. Assad has forfeited his right to breathe, much less to govern. Rebels fighting him are a growing threat to world safety and will become exponentially more so in years to come especially if we arm them to seize Syria: we learned nothing from arming the Taliban. We learned nothing from Iraq. We learned nothing from Vietnam. Remembering a line from -- was it Fibber McGee and Molly? --History teaches us everything it knows, and still we know nothing.

In Egypt the game is well underway. At this point in the game, we abandon or emasculate the Egyptian military at our peril and stupidity. Egypt may be ready for another democracy experiment in a hundred years.

Justice for the murder of the Australian student in Ohio, murder for fun? Should we learn from countries where justice for such heinous crime is swift, merciless, public and tutorial? 

American Arab Spring? Hinted with Occupy, suppressed and forgotten? Lunatic fringe but nevertheless: the Forefathers did not give the Second Amendment for squirrel hunting.

Jeopardy Question. What is We are becoming a nation of abcdefing drones scared of our own government

When government is scary, it's time to take it down, one way or other.

Ballot or Bullet.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Hark!" Harold the angel sings


Harold the angel sings 

As our spring 2013 Bible study season ended it was time for the aging retired parish priest to discern. 

My weekly schedule had included -- as well as adult Sunday school and preaching at two services about one Sunday in three -- Bible study classes on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, sometimes a grief support group and other evening counseling. It wasn’t yet exhausting again, but Harold my guardian angel harkened me back to my life history of gradually taking on more than I could handle until about every four years or so I had to chuck everything and start from scratch. Scratch in the old days meant shedding classes, clubs, memberships and boards and reverting to basic parish ministry, where the cycle would begin again.

For summer 2013 I entered a prayerful listening and discernment process that was concentrated in three silent directed Jesuit retreats at three different Ignatian spiritual centers in the southeast. The outcome is my decisioning.

In retirement, Scratch means back to being priest associate in my home parish, helping out as needed and agreed between the rector and myself. It will be reported in the Holy Nativity newsletter for September. My fall ministries will be 
  • Preach about one Sunday in three
  • Supply when the rector is away 
  • Help out as needed with funerals, weddings, hospital visits, etc. 
  • Adult Christian education leading the adult Sunday school class, starts September 8, Sunday after Labor Day
  • Assist Wednesday evenings, a new, exciting part of our fall 2013 program
  • Offer confirmation classes, starting in October, for adults who are thinking about being confirmed when the bishop comes in February 2014. 
  • Also new as part of our wonderful Wednesdays, starting September 18, we will offer a weekly one hour ministry - Wednesday Noon Healing, Eucharist & Bible Study with Light Lunch. 11:30 AM convenes in the sanctuary for healing & eucharist, moves to Battin Hall for Bible study & lunch, adjourns 12:30 PM. This new ministry begins Wednesday, September 18 at 11:30 AM in the church. Lunch will be provided, this is not potluck. Replacing my Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon Bible seminars, it also offers Wednesday daytime eucharist for folks who can't come Sunday mornings or who can't come out Wednesday night. Far and wide, all are invited and welcome. I will officiate, though Father Steve may back me up from time to time if necessary. Come see and enjoy.

Fall 2013 adult Sunday school class will focus on Genesis and the three creeds, but always flexible and responsive to what the class wants to do. 

Bible study during Wednesday lunch may focus on Bible Readings for each upcoming Sunday.

T+ in +Time

Clipart pinched online. Thanks, Image Envision.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Suit

Interesting time to live through. Or at least to live in, we never know whether we are going to live through, do we. China turning back the clock, warning their people about subversive ideas and ways of the west. When we lived in Japan, 1963-66, electronic entertainment was limited (i.e., TV was in Japanese), so we had Armed Forces Radio. Or, evenings we could listen to Radio Peking telling us what Chairman Mao was doing, or what Premier Chou En-Lai had announced today, or where Vice Premier Chen Yi would be speaking tomorrow, and denouncing some running dog of capitalism for subversive ideas. Nowadays the Chinese people, at least in pictures, look as happy on the streets, and as colorful, as any crowd of Americans, and their roads are filled with Mercedes and Buicks. Economic interdependence, which is self-interest spread out, is good for peace. They’ll be serious when the Mao suit again becomes politically correct and obligatory.

And Egypt, eh, bloody chaos and the military arrests the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Choose your brutality, military or religious. Religious despots rule with vicious hatred and intolerant cruelty, military tyrants with no nonsense order. Egypt had a chance after their Arab Spring and blew it with their first, impatient democratic election. If the symbol of Free Egypt is not social and economic progress but a sick and enfeebled Mubarak in jail, the problem is fairly evident.    

This morning the Secret Gospel of Mark got sidetracked by my glancing at world news first. On other minds: first day of school, many tears will be shed in pre-K crying rooms. Above pre-K, many heels will be clicked.


Monday, August 19, 2013



Saving several emails to read later, a piece on the Bill of Rights. And looking forward to this morning’s after last week’s run of great words that were totally new. Not sure how to thread anatopism and allochthonous into conversation or text, but words are as worth discovering for their own sake as trying a new flavor of ice cream. After supper in Apalachicola on Friday evening, we went to Piggly Wiggly for ice cream and the girls selected vanilla chocolate chip cookie dough that was good trying a couple of bites even though I went back to homemade vanilla. From last week, however, quaternary could be useful in theological discussion about exalting the Theotokos into hypostatic union. At one of my Ignatian retreats this summer my spiritual director spoke of the Holy Spirit as Mary’s husband, and when I questioned, it was affirmed; so I reckon nothing is off the table. 

In my inbox, also saving the Jonathan Turley column to look at later and see if I want to read it. When subscribing to him I thought there might be a column or two a week, but it’s two or three a day. Billable hours?

Distracting this morning was discovering and remembering again that when you want to check something, the various Greek texts of the New Testament that are available online are not all the same; which makes for interesting further checking and discussion, doesn’t it. Just this morning, looking at 1 John 5:7-8 is a case. NRSV reads, “There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree.” KJV reads, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” One scholar I looked at this morning said that most scholars accept the KJV; I don’t think so. Looking at readily available online Greek texts that are commonly used, Westcott-Hort 1881 says, “οτι τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν,” which supports the NRSV, while Stephanos 1550 reads, “οτι τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες εν τω ουρανω ο πατηρ ο λογος και το αγιον πνευμα και ουτοι οι τρεις εν εισιν και τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες εν τη γη το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν” which supports King James. When someone in class asks a question about something like this I can assign the question to be researched and reported back at the next class meeting; but when it comes up here at home I have to look it up myself. 

It’s not even four o’clock in the morning, why is my mind doing this to me instead of dreaming of sugarplums?

OK, I glanced: not going to read Turley’s guest column on Saleh v. Bush. I’m with the plaintiff and see no point in stirring my certitudes. In some future age there will be a Nuremberg recidivus that sets it all straight.

It’s called the Comma Johanneum, reportedly not in the original Textus Receptus or Vulgate, subsequently added to support trinitarian claims, and Google yields 31,200 results for checking out. Starting, no Greek scholar, I think I would translate μαρτυρουντες as "bear witness," which I think, μαρτυρ or martyr, "bear witness" is better than either "testify" or "bear record." And ... Yawn. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Home at last, Home at Last, Thank God Almighty, Home at last!!

We had supper, not "dinner," at a new place last evening. The Up The Creek Raw Bar is north on Water Street and take the -- is this the only elevator in town, I certainly never saw one here before, this is even more of a violation than the traffic light -- lift upstairs, it opens right into the young, packed and noisy restaurant. A long room looking east out across the Apalachicola River, and south toward the John Gorrie Bridge that Mayor Jimmie Nichols opened and I sprinkled holy water on in blessing -- what? -- twenty-five years ago? Tass had scrumptious crabcakes, she wanted two, but I also wanted one, and adding one to her order instead of ordering one of my own added four dollars to the bill instead of eight for just one. A delightful, atypical place for the south, nothing fried was on the menu. I had two dozen steamed oysters -- whether they were Apalachicola oysters or, in the water and harvesting debacle that eventually will kill The Bay, trucked in from Texas, I didn't ask. They were delicious if a bit small. Several of Tassy's friends from Apalachicola High School came over and chatted. My main dish was an enormous bowl of steamed clams that the menu said are from Alligator Point, twenty-five of them and in delicious broth. We agreed we definitely will come again!

But this is sort of "ole home weekend" for us and there are several seafood meals to go, and I am thinking of The Grill and Boss Oyster, which years ago was Frog Level, and The Owl Cafe. The Owl serves the most delectably fried oysters under the sun, so that may be for lunch.

Back in the rectory of Trinity Church for the weekend is our nuclear Apalachicola family from 1984, grown in size -- what a joy to be here! Linda, Tass, me, Jeremy, with Caroline and Charlotte meeting the wonderful old 1900 house where their mother grew up. Linda and I slept in our old bedroom, Tass and Jeremy slept in hers. The bathrooms are new but nothing changes, does it. There's the wood paneling I installed in the back wall of the kitchen years ago to cover holes in the wall, there's the door I brought from my 1912 house in Panama City and installed between the parlor and the family room because there was no door in the doorway and Linda's mother was using the parlor for her bedroom toward the end of our time here. There by golly, despite the new metal roof, is water still dripping through the family room ceiling onto the furniture beneath it. If the rain and leak drip continues, we will need to move the rector's sofa out from under the drip. Sans the ceiling drip, it wouldn't have been our old family home.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Ordinary Time

The summer of 1952 I spent at Camp Weed, the summer camp of our Diocese of Florida. Managing to finagle my way onto the staff so as to remain all summer with my best friend Jack Dennis, I was variously a counselor for Junior Boys, a counselor for Father Fred Yerkes’ Choir Boys camp, and on the kitchen staff. The most fun always was Father Fred and his camps. Archdeacon of the Diocese of Florida, the Venerable Fred Yerkes was from the Jacksonville end of the diocese, and he, with his younger brother Francis Yerkes who assisted him as a layman, held down about six small mission churches for which he was the pastor, and in each of which he held services every Sunday morning. I don’t know how many miles he drove a year, but he wore cars out and at least in the years I knew him, he always drove Chevrolet cars, always black. Father Fred was one of my heroes in my teen years. 

The summer of 1952 Father Fred arrived at camp with a new 1952 Chevrolet. It was a Fleetline DeLuxe two door sedan, the fastback model, black as he probably felt befitted his priestly role. 

He was quite generous with the car, letting Jack and me drive it, not only around camp when none of the campers were out, but also into town to Carrabelle from time to time to pick up stuff. For two sixteen year old boys, this was the biggest deal and privilege imaginable.

That was a year when the Korean War was in full force, and a great deal of industrial production was diverted to the war effort. It included cars, such that there was almost no change in styling, the 1951 Chevrolet 

was identical to the 1952 Chevrolet except for two things. The 1952 front grill had notches in it, 

the only means of visual ID for those two years. Wartime, materials were short, and also quality. Some 1952 cars arrived with wooden front bumpers that were to be replaced later when production caught up; but the main thing, not noticeable for a couple of years, was the quality of the chrome work: the 1951 cars were of good quality, but on 1952 cars the chrome (no exterior plastic in those days) soon discolored, rusted and peeled. 

It wasn’t just GM cars, my grandparents’ 1951 and 1952 Chryslers had different quality in the chrome, the bumpers, the grills, and the trim around the taillights.

But I was at Camp Weed. One day a second 1952 Chevrolet, black Fleetline DeLuxe sedan drove into the camp. It was my Cove School friend Tommy Fidler, driving his grandfather’s new car over from Carrabelle, where Tommy’s grandfather was the town constable. It was identical to Father Fred’s car except that it had PowerGlide, the new automatic transmission that Chevy started out with. A single-speed/single-gear in D for Drive, PowerGlide was slow getting up and moving from stop, so much so that we nicknamed it WeaklingGlide. Father Fred let us use his car, but only with permission, asking first. On this day, I drove down the camp road in Tommy’s grandfather’s car, and thinking it was his car used without permission, Father Fred burst out the front door of the staff building, furious. 

The 1952 Chevy was the last year of the sleekback Fleetline body style, the notchback Styleline

having proved more popular on the market. 

For 1950 and continuing for many years, Chevrolet had introduced a new body style, the Bel Air, a hardtop coupe, 

so called because it was a convertible body with a fixed metal roof and no pillar between the front and rear window. 

Over the years to come, the hardtop style was used not only for coupes, but for four door cars and even for station wagons. Less rigid than pillared cars, it was prone to developing rattles and squeaks, and it went out altogether as safety and roof strength became a major concern in auto design.

The hardtop was first introduced as a high end model, with GM for their 1949 models as the Cadillac Coupe DeVille, the Oldsmobile Holiday, and the 1949 Buick Riviera, available only in the Roadmaster line.

But 1950 saw the market flooded with hardtop coupes across the board. A 1949 Buick Roadmaster Riviera coupe:

On this model, 

Buick used the swoop chrome style that called to mind the 1946, '47, '48 Buick Super and Roadmaster, with the unique swooping fender line that came to be a Buick trademark

My last summer with Father Fred was 1953, sixty years ago this summer. The next and last time I saw him was at the Diocese of Florida sesquicentennial celebration in Tallahassee in 1988, more than thirty-five years after our summer camps together.