Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween



We will celebrate for any reason or none. Celebration will shade and eventually eclipse whatever is celebrated, such that as time passes, unless we have something like the liturgical anamnesis so we don't forget why we have bread and wine in church on Sundays, we forget whatever the reason was for the celebration, and the party is the thing. So with Halloween.

Our years in Apalachicola, at this time of year one of the larger churches in town loaded up their older children and teens and bused off to a mountain retreat to escape Halloween. To me, an outsider looking in, their fear of our annual nonsense seemed ridiculous and extreme. But outsiders never really understand, and it wasn’t ridiculous at all, that annual fall retreat was for them a wonderful loving time of binding and building. And it was only extreme in their condemning judgment of us in our nonsense. Relative fools, we were only celebrating and had no idea why because a party is a party, while they had explored into the background of what we were celebrating and did not like it.

The internet makes exploration easy. Along with Christmas, which is fairly late, Halloween is a Christianization of ancient pagan festivals. Christianized because a celebration party that has become a culturally imbedded habit, custom, is impossible to stop, and nobody wants to stop it anyway; so, join, take over, and evolve a new reason: Christmas, Halloween. In Halloween we have taken over ancient fall harvest festivals that mingled ancient terror of spirits and fairies such as the aos si, and demons and the dead. 

We have long forgotten the terror as superstitious nonsense of darker ages, but the festival continues, changes, evolves, is still changing and evolving, and today is nothing but the “seen,” the party, the show, the fun. The “unseen” behind the celebration is gone. Vestigially, in churches such as ours that are shunting to the periphery, we still try to remember the dead, our loved ones who have died, especially those who died in the past year since the last celebration.

Beyond that, and try as we may to hold on to something that for a while was holy in Halloween, it’s costume up and trick or treat. The goblins are gone and forgotten. Except in our night terrors, they never were real, whatever real means.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

σωτηρία, σῶσαι


Luke 19:1-10 (NRSV)

Jesus and Zacchaeus
He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” 
6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” 8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” 9 Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
Uh oh, another tax-collector, though unlike the parable fellow who went to temple to pray, Zacchaeus is an arch-tax-collector, a chief tax collector. Arch, as in archbishop or archdeacon. Arch, high.
But the interesting words in Sunday’s gospel are σωτηρία, salvation and σῶσαι, save. Meaning what? Paul and other NT writers have it personal and future apocalyptic, in the coming kingdom of God expected imminently, how does Jesus mean it, here?
About the son of man. In the gospels, Jesus uses it three ways. To mean humans generally. Referring to the apocalyptic figure in Daniel chaper 7. Obliquely, perhaps modestly, meaning himself instead of saying “I.” (why, who knows). Each use is arguable as to what he means. Here he seems to mean “I” -- I came to seek and save the lost. 
Save? Rescue from the power of sin. Rescue for when? For Zacchaeus, now, not in some future apocalyptic age, now. Zaccheaus has repented and turned his life around, he’s clean now, rescued from destruction, σῶσαι, saved. 
I think it means now: henceforth his life will be honest and straight, blameless. But, especially to any extent Luke sees Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, it may mean more than that. 
TW+ 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Life: My Oyster


It’s an interesting age to live in. Or to finish up living in, to face life honestly. We read history and think, “that’s the way it was then, but now finally it’s like this.” But it isn’t, not at all. The first time I remember becoming actively conscious of my own just-passing-throughness was an afternoon the end of July 1984, the week we arrived in Apalachicola. I had just read the list of priests before me at Trinity Episcopal Church, spotted some I had been at Camp Weed with thirty five years earlier, and was wandering around the church property thinking now finally it’s me at last, right where as a child I wanted to be. For some reason, in that wandering, awareness dawned that it wasn’t now finally me at last, that it wasn’t final at all, and not me at last, just my name being added and that a generation hence Tom Weller would be just one more name on a longer list with others after me. 
Just so, that was three decades ago and that generation came and is gone and there are two or three names after me on the list. The little children who showed up in church a couple days later, my first Sunday, eventually became my acolytes, then my lectors, served the chalice when they turned sixteen if they wanted to, finished school, grew up, married, mostly moved away, and have children and careers of their own. Their grandparents are long dead, I know because I buried them. Now, their parents are retired or finishing up too. It’s an interesting sense.

Barak Obama isn’t now finally president, nor is John Boehner now finally Speaker, they are just two more names on lists of folks who have dealt with the Constitution the founding fathers gave us and the Supreme Court has interpreted. I feel sad for them, especially for the antagonism in which they are making their way. It’s an interesting age to live in. Frankly, the tense antagonism is better by far than any alternative of one party rule. We have two parties, but in reality we need three, right, center, and left. Not Dixiecrat Redux though, God forbid.

From summer 1984 to summer 1998 the years were ups and downs, if mostly ups, but nevertheless. If I can happily return to Apalachicola and Trinity Church more than a generation after that summer afternoon, perhaps thirty years from now John and Barry will laugh over a beer that everyone took them so seriously.

One of my first acquisitions that first week in Apalachicola was a gallon of oysters, which I opened and put in the refrigerator in the rectory kitchen. Over the next few days I fished them out of the bucket and ate them one by one. About half became my favorite breakfast: six to nine oysters on a slice of whole wheat bread. Slip into the toaster oven, broil, take out, butter the top, sprinkle of salt. That’s as good as life gets. And it's fine.

Might as well be, it's the way it is.

TW+  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Goat



Reminded

Recently June told me about the tan Pontiac GTO hardtop Bill had back in -- he likely was 18 so it would have been 1966, maybe a '67 model car. 







GTO is for Italian Gran Turismo Omologato, technically, a tourer certified specked out for racing. At



least some early GTOs had engines larger than GM policy allowed for that smaller size car. John DeLorean, gutsy GM exec of all time, took a Pontiac Tempest, removed the 4-cylinder engine, dropped in a huge Bonneville V8, and call it a GTO. It was flaming hot. Bubba avoids trendy words, otherwise, the word was awesome.


Awesome, both GTO and Pontiac. The GTO today is a cult car beyond imagining. It all reminded me of --- well, it reminded me. We never had a GTO but Walt had a 1964 GTO convertible, blue with four-speed stick. Excellent car, and seems to me it was light blue



not the medium blue.


Hearing that Bill had his GTO up to 90 on Hwy 77 reminded me of the day in 1978 I rode a Greyhound bus from Harrisburg to someplace over near Pittsburgh to pick up our new Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta,


black with a red stripe, red piping inside. 


Driving home to Harrisburg I had it up to a hundred, including through tunnels on the turnpike. A car probably should't be driven out of the showroom and run a hundred miles an hour, but that one was.

Joe liked that car, one dark night hit a major pothole and damaged it, but the world kept on turning. The Berlinetta had a 350 V8 and was the hot one. It was Linda’s car, because she chose black over the gold 1978 Pontiac Firebird we had at the same time. 


The Firebird was nice, an Esprit model, but only had the 301 V8 and was neither as hot as the Camaro nor as cool. Buying the Firebird, I’d wanted a gold or black TransAm with the 455 V8, but TransAms were hard to get, premium priced, not discounted, and Bubba was cheap then too. 



At the time I had a sideline car business of my own and couldn’t get a TransAm, so took a plain one. It was just as well, because my chief memory of the Pontiac Firebird is driving it home from Washington to Harrisburg one Saturday morning during the gas crisis, on an empty tank, and no filling stations open because there was no gasoline to be had. Eyeing the gas gauge in a 455 TransAm would have gotten me to Frederick.

Pontiac offered the GTO from 1964 to 2006. The final GTO, like the Pontiac G8 V8,  was supplied by Holden, GM’s subsidiary in Australia. 


It had a 6 liter V8 rated at 400 hp, top speed 175.


When GM went belly up and reorganized, they did some smart things and some stupid things. Dropping Pontiac and especially the GTO, 


wasn’t one of their smarter moves. They need an everyman's muscle car and there ain't no Chevy, Buick or Cadillac that can stand behind that empty chair. Not even the Camaro. A GMC GTO? I don't think so.


TW

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jeopardy!



The answer:

0
0
0
17
10
27


7
7
3
0
7
24

And the correct question is --

"Why should heart patients not watch college football?"

If BCS continues on track, we may get to see a dream game, at least for this part of the country, Tide v. Seminoles.

Where will I be? Ha!

Come to Sunday School.

TW+

P.S.  Who is going trick or treating as ASLAN?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I believe


Our adult Sunday school class is taking a break from the Bible, the first and foremost leg of our so-called “three legged stool” of Anglican theology, Scripture, Reason and Tradition. Moving into the creeds is a look at the "third leg," Tradition. Though it’s not really a “break” from the Bible, because the “Apostles Creed” in particular is based on Scripture. Also called the Baptismal Creed or Baptismal Covenant, this is my favorite of our three creeds. 

As we recessed class last Sunday I was thinking we had talked enough about the Apostles Creed, but we didn’t actually, we overlooked half of it, so we’ll come back to it tomorrow morning. The Church seems to have used this creed, its predecessor the Old Roman Symbol, from earliest days, even from the second century, in inducting new members through the rite of baptism. It’s my favorite creed because as we say it liturgically we not only say what we believe, we covenant as to how we will live our lives specifically because of what we believe. In the Roman Catholic Church and in some dioceses and parishes of the Episcopal Church, the Baptismal Covenant is coming to be encouraged for liturgical use instead of the Nicene Creed during all Sundays of seasons that are regarded as special times for baptism. The Easter season is our prime time for that, the Baptismal Covenant instead of the Nicene Creed all Sundays of Easter. 

The Sundays of Easter are also timely and appropriate for omitting the Confession of Sin and Absolution as the rubrics allow -- not simply liturgically but specifically theologically, specifically because we believe that Good Friday and Easter accomplish our forgiveness and reconciliation with God. To ignore that liturgically and muddle on through the Confession & Absolution anyway is redundant to the Season, diminishes the power and symbolism of Easter, suggesting that we don't really believe the power of Easter, distances our worship from Calvary and the Garden, and some say even blasphemes the Cross and Resurrection. Certain of nothing, I'm not solid on that, but am willing to discuss it.

In adult Sunday school tomorrow, we’ll say the Baptismal Covenant together, then talk about it. There’ll be some back and forth, polite chit chat, hopefully even mild argument before we go on to the Nicene Creed.

TW+

Friday, October 25, 2013

Season


Lived in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Northern Virginia, and dislike snow and ice, but a cool fall morning is welcome after that overly hot, long summer. Fall is welcome, that is, except for the symbol of a child grown and gone, Kristen’s absent car. Ray’s car is there this morning, some mornings so, some not. For me it’s different with the boys, but whether the girls are twenties, forties or fifties it’s worry, worry, worry.

It wasn’t really forgotten at all. Not crisp, but cool for sitting on an outside porch, so in the downstairs closet where heavier longsleeve “top shirts” wait their season, I reached for one of the khaki “canvas” shirts from L.L.Bean. Spotting the soft dark blue corduroy, I thought, “Oh, I’d forgotten you!” and took it instead. Well worn, once elegant, now suitable for around the house, it began years ago under the Christmas tree tagged Papa. Malinda, Ray & Kristen, and has long since been promoted to velveteen rabbit.

Work for today: sermonizing. 


How to cast the Pharisee & the Publican that I didn’t do ten times in thirty years?

TW+

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wanna Help?



Yesterday’s mail brought a letter from Kristen about “Building Tomorrow,” a project raising money to build schools for children in Uganda. Her chapter at Emory University is trying to raise $6,000 that will build one academy in a rural community. Enthusiastic about the project, Kristen asked my permission to write several friends and relatives that I felt would help them. Linda and I are going to help her project, and your helping Kristen will not only help the children, but would mean more to me personally than I could ever say.

So that Kristen’s chapter at Emory is credited toward their goal, her online connection is the one to use for giving. The connection for her Emory chapter -- which does open, I tried it just now -- is https://pages.buildingtomorrow-mail.org/i-am-pages?supporter=emorybt2013

And the Building Tomorrow website is


Tom

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

But, Ma, he's nekkid


Roy & the Emperor’s New Clothes

Roy was my assistant at my second Navy assignment in Washington, DC forty years ago. A GS-15, he was a master of bureaucratic gobbledygook. Incomprehensible and meaningless, Roy's writing was as vacant as the emperor’s new clothes. But it read so formidably that nobody but me his new supervisor had the guts to call him on it; incredibly, even the officers before me had been snowed and he had skied his way to senior civil service rank on male bovine droppings. Roy’s prose was so unchallengeable that our admiral depended on him to write all the command’s letters of commendation and recommendations for military medals. Even my own service dress blue uniform may have a medal for which Roy wrote the BS for desk duty performance above and beyond the call. Among other things, that Washington tour taught me to be cynical of authors and whatever they write.
    
This is an apology that I'm reading an article with the sentence, "... even the hermeneutical spiral ... cannot rescue us from our epistemological troubles, and can even exacerbate them ... ." Anyone who wonders hasn’t read theologians. A theologian is an author whose subject is speculative and whose vocation is accordingly and therefore to daunt the reader with writing so mystical, mysterious and misty that you can’t ask what the hell does that mean without risking yourself to be scoffed a dimwit. Aboriginals of The Cloud, theologians make their living by arguing with their colleagues and writing textbooks about it: Our Boarding House with Major Hoople Recidivus and Amos Hoople Redux. Readers of theology become accustomed to being close to the barnyard.

The author of the article I just read is brilliant, as career and colleagues certify. Vocabulary is superior and the piece is interesting, making a case that Christians should be concerned with doing what pleases God, not with doctrinal certainty and purity. With my view that certainty, certitude, is our greatest sin, I bought the book solely because of the title of that one article. But the author isn’t coming at the subject as an Anglican, an Episcopalian, it’s more an apologetic for fundamentalist and evangelical dogmatism, trying to untie that boat and push it gently away from the pier without anyone falling overboard.  

The book, anonymous, has nine essays by various authors. I read one other article, by a different author, about making sense of Genesis One, and found it also such an apologetic, but also interesting, worthwhile, and informative. It observes that in Genesis One the Creator first structures, then fills. So, on days 1, 2, and 3 God structures respectively, day/night, sky/waters, and land; then on days 4, 5, and 6 respectively, God fills the day/night with the sun, moon and stars; fills the sky and waters with birds and fish; fills the land with animals and humans. Primarily, this piece makes a convincing case that Genesis One has a link with Egyptian creation stories that's older than any link with Babylon's Enuma Elish

TW+  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beast and the Beauty


One Christmas in the late 1940s or early ‘50s my aunt Evalyn, our father’s sister, we called her EG, gave me a book by Floyd Clymer that has been around the world with me. It’s still here in the house somewhere, I’ll have to find it, a treasury of early automobiles. It instantly became my favorite book and most prized possession that I poured over for endless hours, lying stretched out on the living room floor reading and rereading without end. There was a dust jacket on it that itself wore away to dust decades ago. EG bought it in the wonderful bookshop at “Woodies,” the Woodward & Lothrop department store downtown in Washington, DC where she lived. Single, she was the dream of a favorite aunt.

It was in Floyd Clymer’s book I first heard of the Reeves Octoauto, a 1911 car in which the first two wheels steered in the desired direction, the second set in the opposite direction. 


An interesting challenge to parallel park, it would not have appealed to me if for no other reason than that it reminded me more of a spider than a car.


And it was in Clymer’s book I learned about the Ruxton, 


a front-wheel-drive automobile built in 1929 and 1930. 




Distinguished by its thin headlamps, 




that may have swiveled with the front wheels turning, I don't remember, the Ruxton had a straight-eight Continental engine,



and compared to other cars of its day, because there was no centerline drive shaft, it sat much lower, and must have been more stable. Sitting lower, it did not need a runningboard for stepping up into.


I’ve never seen one, but Ruxton and Floyd Clymer’s book came to mind again last week, the morning I opened Norm’s email with a stack of about 35 old car pictures that included a Ruxton.


With a combination of doubtful business strategy and the misfortune of hitting the very start of the Great Depression, Ruxton never got off the ground, but it was a classic, a magnificent car.


TW     

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bad Mood


Luke 18:9-14 (NRSV) A Parable:
The Pharisee and the Publican

9 Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Our gospel for next Sunday: The Pharisee and the Publican. Next Sunday is my turn to preach. Thinking about it is fine, but if I talk too much about it I’ll have nothing left for my sermon or homily, would I, but which would be just as well, wouldn’t it. It doesn’t hurt to do a little observing though, does it. For textual, historical and other sorts of criticism, which some like and some don’t, but is my favorite kind of Bible study, Luke includes it in a whole mess of parables that he reports Jesus telling on his way to Jerusalem. The part in italics is to isolate Jesus‘ likely words from Luke’s setting (18:9); and from Luke’s embellishment with an aphorism (18:14b) that seems clearly Luke’s because Jesus prefers to leave us hanging, thinking we have enough sense to figure out the moral for ourselves.

Such embellishments remind me of the addition that some -- to me dunce -- tacked on to the end of Mark’s gospel. For all his peculiarities such as rushing breathlessly through his story by starting almost every thought, sentence and paragraph with “and,” Mark is in my mind the ultimate craftsman. He has an agenda: to inspire his listeners to rush out and proclaim Christ, by leaving us frustrated that nobody around Jesus realized that he was the Son of God come to suffer and die for us, even closing with the women who went to the tomb and ran away too terrified to tell anybody anything -- they were so scared they didn't tell nobody nothin'. So, reading the story later, some bozo who failed Literature 101 thinks Mark didn’t know the end of the story, or forgot to tell the end of the story, and so adds what to him is the logical conclusion, like some clown at a cocktail party who decides to explain the punchline to somebody else’s subtle joke, thus spoiling the story or even rendering it incomprehensible. Or emasculating it of its power.

This isn’t a criticism of either Luke or the Markan Spoiler who took the edge off Mark's Gospel, it’s just Bubba up too early on the wrong side of the bed and the coffee hasn’t had time to temper the mood. 

Sorry.

TW+      

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's not just a game


Blessedly with a wedding to officiate over the weekend, I was excused from finding an excuse to skip football, so heart attacks were left out of Saturday. Gators: some will be polishing up Will’s resume’ time the season is over. CFB is a lot more fun if you have more than one favorite team, and if you have a couple of teams to "hate." 

Sorry, Amy. 
Stunner: what happened, Clemson?
Best news of the day: 


WAAARREAGLE, beat Manziel.
Louisville v. UCF Knights Ascendant, I give up, I’m ordering a gold and black vuvuzela. 

Bouncing and plummeting when the rankings come out this evening. 


It's only a game. Come to Sunday School.

TW+

Saturday, October 19, 2013

passeth human knowing


Don't see it now, but a news article early this morning reported a recent study showing that during sleep, neurons (or something, it was too early, I can’t remember the words) shrink and allow fluid to wash between them, flushing the brain of toxins. The study proved that sleep is a downtime of housecleaning that is vital to the brain’s health. Having experienced hallucinations while driving when too sleepy, I can imagine toxins affecting the brain’s physical integrity and mental product. In that regard, while doing my early reading I kept dozing off, so went to bed in Joe’s room and got a three hour nap. Thus the late post.

In our Adult Sunday School class we are talking about the church’s three creeds. Last Sunday we had an overall introduction, then recited the Athanasian Creed, Creed of Saint Athanasius, together as a way of introducing it, with some discussion. Its Latin name Quinque vult after the first line “Whosoever will be saved” is easier to say. We may revisit it tomorrow morning to let folks see the structure -- first part Trinity, second part Christ, and a chance to recognize the anathemas.

Tomorrow the Apostles Creed, Baptismal Covenant, as the most ancient document, with some mystery about its origins. It’s my favorite, the one we should say Sundays instead of the Nicene, for two reasons, first because in it we not only recite our belief in the Trinity, we make a commitment together in community about how our belief will affect our lives.

Do the creeds state absolute truth? They don’t really purport to, do they, they’re just statements of our belief as Christians -- except that the anathemas in the Quinque vult smack of asserting that this is absolute truth and that whether it is or not you better believe it anyway or you are going to hell. How does that discourse go that opens with the question about absolute truth? 

Is there absolute truth? Yes. Because No, there is no absolute truth, offered as the absolute truth, proves the premise Yes, there is absolute truth

Who said that? Socrates? Plato? Thomas? Alfred E. Neuman? Arias? Larry, Moe & Curly? If I knew, I don’t.

Does it matter whether truth, absolute truth, is concept or substance? Is this a table? Is reality the shadows on the wall in the cave, or the beings that cast the shadows, or the light, or the fire? If I stay forever chained in the cave, what is reality? Is reality objective or subjective? Is my reality the same as yours? Is reality beyond human knowing? 

When you get to 78 you can waste your Saturday morning with such nonsense.

Thomas Aquinas has three elements in his proof of the existence of God. One has to do with a sense of God being implanted in each of us. Thomas was 13th century. Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) later wrote his treatises On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers, asserting that there is within us a sense of the infinite, a preconscious feeling of God acting upon each human being. Is that true? Or is it simply the difference between humans and “lower animals” who cannot contemplate themselves. If I contemplate myself I wonder where I came from and how all this came to be. Does my contemplating “is there greater than I?” and deciding “yes, there is” evidence a sense of the infinite? Or did an implanted sense lead to my contemplation and realization?

What I like about Schleiermacher is not his “sense of the infinite” but his view that certain things, having in mind elements of the Nicene Creed, are beyond human knowing. Yet human beings lay these things upon us by fiat and require that we believe. 

Let us stand and affirm our faith as we say We believe ...

Does believing make so? In adult Sunday school we’re studying the creeds. Come rattle your certitude.

TW+

Friday, October 18, 2013

1899 et al.

Weather should be cooler out here on Alfred’s Porch this morning, October 18th, but warm and humid it is. An early morning email from Mary titled Year of Your Birth lets you type in the year you were born and watch a narrative of some things that happened that year. I did mine, 1935. Then tried Alfred’s, 1899, which wouldn’t take, but I pursued it online anyway and found interesting things. 

Adam Opel AG first offered automobiles for sale. In the nineteenth century Adam Opel made sewing machines, then added bicycles, the high wheeler penny-farthing, a popular interesting contraption that could be quite deadly. Their first automobile was the Opel Lutzmann


In 1899 super-cyclone Mahina (category 5) struck Bathurst Bay, Australia with a reported but arguable storm surge of 48 feet. Apparently category 5 cyclones only occur in that part of the world every 200 to 300 years.

Headquartered in Russelsheim, Germany, Adam Opel AG was later acquired by General Motors. Our third car was an Opel Rekord, a two door sedan, called at the time a “German Buick.” It was this color and we bought it one Sunday in Norfolk, trading in our Ford. We loved the Opel.


Opel seems to have a special relationship with Buick, in fact, our Buick Regal was made in Russelsheim.

The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was formed in 1899. A map shows the area and hints at the disastrous effects of imperial colonization of other lands, effects that are still with us.


In 1899 George Dewey was appointed Admiral of the Navy by congress, only American naval officer to hold that special equivalent to six-star rank. Our only other military officer to hold equal rank was John Pershing, some years later made General of the Armies. But to keep anyone from outranking George Washington, congress gave Washington that rank posthumously, with precedence in rank senior to Pershing.

Military allusions for the heavenly hosts are not unusual. Yahweh Sabaoth is "Lord of Hosts" which is high military rank, above Field Marshall, perhaps even above General of the Armies. Art depictions of angels in military garb are common, and it appears that congress has ranked General Washington in overall command, with Dewey, Pershing and Washington senior to Michael Archangel, below shown at Coventry Cathedral slaying the devil. Tass, Linda and I visited Coventry in 1995, and our day at the cathedral learning its history was a highlight of our time there. 


  
Intriguing, the idea that with posthumously creating Generals, congress may have authority in heaven. Especially intriguing after recent events. It brings to mind Flannery O'Connor's line for a used car salesman "anyone with a good car don't need salvation, and this is a good car," and the idea of congress being in charge makes me think I might prefer that 1939 Buick afterall, and zip on across the heavens.


TW



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Avalanche!


Today is special. Well, just this instant got more special. Still dark outside. Three black & whites zipped by the house and screeching up down front, cops jump out and with flashlights surround and inspecting a vehicle in the park area down front at the foot of Calhoun Avenue on the Bay. So dark I had no idea that car was there, but it’s not all that unusual even though the sign says no parking after dark. People out of car now, male and female voice laughing, giggling. Guess they got caught. At what? Whatever. Honey, does yo’ daddy know where you at? One cop car leaves. Lots of talking. Third B&W returns. Loud but not angry conversation. If I had my ears in I could understand what they’re saying, the back and forth. But I don’t need to hear it, do I. Woops, now a tow truck rolls up, one B&W moves so the tow truck can get down to the parked car. 

One B&W left now.

Still dark but the sky is blue black instead of jet black. Lots of early morning walkers rushing by, a great and safe place for it.

Special day? Once a year Italian Night tonight, scrumptious meal prepared by dear friends and enjoyed with dear friends. 

Thursday. Pax.

There goes the tow truck with a white Chevrolet Avalanche pickup. Nobody I know.

Late post. Bay flat, no wind. Reveille from Tyndall AFB across the Bay.

TW