Tuesday, January 31, 2017

absolution



I confess to Almighty God, to his Church, and to you, that
I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed, in
things done and left undone; especially __________.  For these
and all other sins which I cannot now remember, I am truly
sorry.  I pray God to have mercy on me.  I firmly intend
amendment of life, and I humbly beg forgiveness of God and
his Church, and ask you for counsel, direction, and absolution.

Here the Priest may offer counsel, direction, and comfort.

The Priest then pronounces this absolution

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to
absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of
his great mercy forgive you all your offenses; and by his
authority committed to me, I absolve you from all your sins:
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit.  Amen.


The United Nations designated last Friday, January 27, anniversary of the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Many books have been written and films made about that darkest night of inhumanity, during which I lived, the end and documentation of which I so vividly remember that it haunts my mind. Decades later, from the late 1980s television miniseries War and Remembrance, I recall John Gielgud huddled rocking back and forth chanting prayer, on a bench in the German gas chamber at Auschwitz as deadly gas poured into the crowded space of panicked naked humans; immediately following, a scene of the dust of human ashes dumping into the nearby Sola River and floating off beyond life and time.  

Over the weekend I read The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, Simon Wiesenthal’s wrenching account of an experience while he was imprisoned in a German concentration camp in occupied Poland. The book contains his narrative, followed by essays, invited comments, of people from around the world, Americans, Europeans, others, Christians, Jews, theologians, rabbis, priests, lay people, Protestant ministers, even the Dalai Lama. 

Eighty-one is not the new forty-five, but reading about, hopefully not yet beyond retaining, things that are elusive, conceptual, theoretical, I’m coming upon different notions, shades, doctrines, ways of understanding confession and absolution that have to do not only with liturgical words, as we do it, but with a range of both abstract and concrete, thinking, saying and doing: regret, remorse, shame, sorrow, fear, contrition, confession, penitence, repentance, penance, atonement, reparation, absolution, forgiveness, reconciliation. Looking ahead a month, I am thinking that all this may be helpful to my own spiritual penitence and ordained ministry as I contemplate Lent with its smudge of ashes and ominous warning from Genesis 3:19, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” When all is said and done, this is what I believe: dust.

As we in the Christian church, where sin has become unmentionable lest someone take offense, go light with confession and absolution, I am finding it helpful to know of unspeakable wrongs that are beyond forgiveness even from the Word and hand of God. And helpful to perceive distinction between what as a priest I may absolve, which we understand as forgiveness in the Name of God, and what I morally cannot but must delay or defer. Notion, conviction, moral theology, abstract.

In the low church milieu I served over thirty-odd years as a priest, I’ve heard neither more nor fewer private confessions than the next cleric. They are private, confidentiality sealed, one case I felt compelled to take to my bishop for advice while still protecting identity, and no case that criminal code required I report to law enforcement. 

In a few instances, per the rubric above, I offered counsel and direction and withheld absolution until the Penitent returned compliant with my assignment of penance to repent, apologize, make amends. Invariably that startles a Penitent, who is taken aback if there is more to it than formality of hearing words and seeing the priest's right hand wave the sign of the cross. Generally we take the sacramental rite too lightly. We reduce it to the least common denominator of liturgical rote in general Confession and Absolution where words are read obliviously and presumptively and the Celebrant's hand waved lightly, all in passing. Solemn, half serious, cheap grace, arguable theology. 

Last week’s Holocaust Remembrance Day surfaced it all again, unspeakable history the perpetrators and nation of equally guilty silent "complicit spectators"* all unforgivable except by the slaughtered and their unborn generations throughout the ages of ages; and atonement would have eliminated Germany as a nation and vacated that part of Europe for the Jews instead of seizing Palestinian lands from helpless and innocent owners and concentrating them. Tragically, the situation is beyond resolve, forgiveness impossible, wrongs multiplied not atoned, and civilization stuck, The Peace of Jerusalem a travesty that shifted the nightmare.

Here’s what I’m reading, hearing, learning, finding out. For cultic sins against God, the priestly sacramental rite suffices because the Church says it does. For sins against a human, there is no divine forgiveness before personal repentance and atonement, and forgiveness from the offended human only. For some sins, such as the Holocaust, and murder generally, forgiveness is impossible because the offended is dead and cannot. To weasel out of this with a cheap understanding of grace as an apology read and a hand waved, only multiplies the sin and guilt, which remains. And aside, interestingly, Jewish custom also calls it unforgivable to wrongfully destroy another’s reputation, because a destroyed reputation cannot be restored. To contemplate for Lent 2017.


From the catechism 

Other Sacramental Rites
Q. What other sacramental rites evolved in the Church 
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
A. Other sacramental rites which evolved in the Church 
include confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony, 
reconciliation of a penitent, and unction.

Q. What is Reconciliation of a Penitent?
A. Reconciliation of a Penitent, or Penance, is the rite in 
which those who repent of their sins may confess them 
to God in the presence of a priest, and receive the 
assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution.

      
Not exactly, but I think this is about where my mind went this morning, and what I meant to say to myself before the first Lent of this New Era.

DThos+ in Stoppage Time  

* "complicit spectators: Franklin H. Littell Sunflower, p.197

Monday, January 30, 2017

ASPRI


Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Inside 99/58 pulse 62, outside 45° and clear, late January winter morning on the Florida Gulf coast. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Boeing 747 cargo plane crashes in village in Kyrgyzstan, dozens killed. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Shooting at a mosque in Quebec City, six murdered more injured. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Yesterday finished reading Laurus, recently translated into English, a contemporary Russian novel situated in the 15th century about a christische figure from before birth, throughout life, to after death, the holy fool I meant to contemplate during sabbatical, so modeled after Jesus as to be slightly beyond credible, healing powers, high priestly prayer subtly slipped in, life of humility unto self-abasement. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Early he loses Ustina and son in childbirth but takes her belovedly throughout life as though not left behind in potters field but always by his side, present in heart and mind. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Laurus for me not a can’t put it down book, in fact laid it aside a couple days for Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower, timely not only because of my dread fascination, Friday’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, current likenings of MS St Louis to what’s going on. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Religion not a political tapestry of the Summary of the Law and How People are Treated woven upon the Face of God does not bless the Lord. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. But no skimming, I read every page, line, word. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Quite human, in ways a man’s book, do I recommend it? Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Not necessarily, decide for yourself. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

God of all mercy,
We confess that we have sinned against you, 
    opposing your will in our lives.
We have denied your goodness in each other, 
    in ourselves, 
    and in the world you have created. 
We repent of the evil that enslaves us,
    the evil we have done,
    and the evil done on our behalf. 
Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen.


PCL'S ASPRI 590x92 to load wood pellets for Studstrup, Denmark. Apparently the powerplant there is shifting from fossil fuel to biomass, straw and wood pellets.

https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/ASPRI-IMO-9658771-MMSI-351374000
   


The Statue of Liberty's torch is parked in front of the western side of Madison Square in 1876.

Thanks again, Norm!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Whatever &c


Collect for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in
heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of
your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through
Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Scripture, Tradition and Reason. Lex Orandi Lex Credendi. What do Anglicans, we Episcopalians, believe? Come worship with us and see: our theology may be found in what we do and say and sing and pray when we gather for common prayer, public worship. But clinging as we do to Tradition, the creeds, doctrines, prayers and in some measure hymns — words, the poems — of our Christian ages, allows our theology, unless we are constantly mindful of it, to sink into quaint irrelevance like a city built on marshland. It isn’t as though these things are ignored, but it is as though they move glacially while the world around spins and darts off into space with the rest of our galaxy. 

In the governance of our church, General Convention’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has the oversight task, as assigned by General Convention; and in fact currently contemplating a total BCP revision, SCLM is up to date in their way, which I reckon is an Episcopal way, reunions of joyful fellowship over glasses of dry red they conceive and discuss possible new projects of music and liturgy.

https://standingcommissiononliturgyandmusic.org/

What’s needed? I would like them to retreat from obsession with the politically correct and mind the building, fix the front porch. As the front porch that we and our guests cross upon entering, the Collects for the Day urgently need more than sweeping or even scraping and repainting, i.e. tear out and rebuild. With some exceptions, they are beautiful works of art, relics of antiquity that assert theologies of ancient times when there was a flat earth sitting on pillars to hold above the subterranean deep and capped by blue firmament restraining the waters above. Not to say tidbits of naivete, superstition and fear. As for this morning, Epiphany4, though we may earnestly wish it so, Almighty and everlasting God does not, in fact, experience, or demonstration, "govern all things both in heaven and on earth". And that we say it, pray it, or earnestly believe it does not make it so. God has no hands but our hands to do His work today, and our hands are busy with the work of Satan. Let us not delude ourselves: God is not in control. Monsters are loose. And over against a statement I read in the SCLM website about "updating the BCP without changing the theology", the collects do want a theological review being especially mindful of Reason.

The Episcopal Church has in fact made available through Church Publishing, a little book "Prayers for an Inclusive Church" by Steven Shakespeare.  



https://www.churchpublishing.org/products/prayersforaninclusivechurch It offers, as BCP does not, a collect for each Sunday around the entire three-year ecclesiastical calendar  — as well as other liturgical events but I’m concerned about obsolete and theologically doubtful Collects for the Day, by Tradition the entry rite to our Sunday worship. Although authority to do so is not clear, some parishes are substituting its prayers for the Collect, each of which relates well to the Lectionary and the Day as the BCP collects do not necessarily. Not here with me on sabbatical, my copy is in my office at HNEC, so I can’t copy and paste its Collect for Epiphany4A.

Not to run a topic into the ground, PAX.

But in closing, in an email from a friend, a photograph I appreciated as relevant to changing the BCP




"Hgertrafikomlggningen" - The day Sweden switched from driving on the left to driving on the right (1967).

Another one I liked just for the halibut ->



A German Tank almost falls off a Russian bridge on July 4, 1941.  

DThos+ in Stoppage Time  

Thanks, Norm!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

dost govern


This morning, 44° one square of chocolate Lindt 70% and a mug of Community special roast whole bean bought in Louisiana because their odd coffees are regional, not available here, also a Keurig cup Community with chicory. With coffee Bubba likes to experiment.

Lectionary for Epiphany4A is splendid, yuuge, I don’t know how whoever is preaching can choose from among 

Micah 6:1-8
Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

so I’ll copy and paste the whole shootin’ match below except that the English translations from Hebrew and NTGreek matter to me, I prefer what KJV my mother taught and had me commit to memory as a boy. 

I’ll always appreciate having drawn the long straw to be oldest &c ho anaginowskown noeito, in part because with the oldest the parents have, certainly in my case had, more time and patience for rearing effort that doesn’t necessarily happen later on and down the line. That is to say, unless there are gaps and more onlies. I have one first, one second; and two besottedly doted upon one and onlies, exempli gratia, which made for much love and fun plus agonizing worry as child-raising carried on into my seventies, and where two will be in their sixties while one is still in her forties and one her twenties and I beyond Stoppage Time.

That’s not the stream of conscious I meant for this morning though: I was looking at tomorrow’s Lectionary, “The Propers” as our term goes, propers include the four Bible readings, the “Proper Preface” (a variable theological line inserted in the Eucharistic Prayer where it leads into the Sanctus), and the Collect for the Day. The Collect I meant to have a go at: 

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our collects typically have three parts: an opening address to God, a petition (this collect has sort of a joint petition — “hear” and “grant”), and a generally Trinitarian closing. The address to God generally is a theological assertion. Above for Epiphany4, passing by the “Almighty and everlasting” that is indeed theological, I’m caught by “you govern all things both in heaven and on earth.” Marion says* this collect is found in the Gregorian sacramentary (10th century) and Sarum missal (11c.), was modified in translation from Latin by Cranmer, but that this is original wording. So what we have is pious medieval theology, and if it’s truly from Gregory (ca 540-604) it’s from the Dark Ages of western civilization, culture and Christian church. That is to say, “who dost govern all things in heaven and earth” hums well in ancient liturgical chant, but hardly reflects theology that developed in the Holocaust and perhaps even less so in what we observe about divine interaction here in what is being called post-modernity. I don’t know.

Because I lived through it, unconsciously until Allied forces began liberating German concentration camps in 1944 and 1945 and newsreels stunned me, a nine-year-old child, here in the Ritz Theatre downtown PC, the horror and immensity of the German national atrocity has always held a singular fascination for me. Books early on. Eli Wiesel, Night and others. Orientation Week at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, where our Dean Gerhard Krodel (1926-2005) was said to have served in the German Wehrmacht and came away with memories he refused ever to discuss, we focused on readings and class discussions of the Holocaust. There was Anne Frank’s Diary, and Schindler’s List with John Williams’ almost unbearably haunting musical score. And for me lately and still reading as a sabbatical exercise, The Sunflower with Simon Wiesenthal’s case study and its grinding moral and theological apologia and dilemma that explores the outside rim of civilized thought, human suffering, compassion, Jewish agony and even Christian trivia of forgiveness. Wiesel with the little boy still alive as he swings twitching, jerking at the end of the gallows rope, the crowd’s question, “Where is G_d now?” and discordant answers, “There He is” in and as the murdered boy, the slaughtered lamb, and “He is not” as faith dissolves into atheistic horror amid the German paganism. Where is now/was G_d in that nightmare, that Night? Was God governing all things? μη γενοιτο. Or from Simon Wiesenthal in the camp, God on leave and with no Deputy to leave in charge? IDK. So then how, how, How dost Almighty and everlasting God govern all things on earth?

In the face of most any calamity or level of perceived threat, a pious faith statement is “God is in control” and/but the comeback might be “How?” “Where?” “Show me.” I’ve known, know, faithful Christians who have saved themselves by walking down the aisle, saved and as sure for heaven as if they were already there, in certitude (choose one or more) antisemitic, racist, homophobic, male chauvinist, radical feminist, greedy, selfish, blind, oblivious, … . Who, where, what is the God of them? Is the God of them in charge, in control, governing all things in earth? God help us. I’m caught, trapped. 

I once knew a Christian, this one was Methodist actually, who, in response to my homily at the funeral of a young male suicide, corrected me as I stood by the hearse before leaving for the cemetery, corrected my homiletic assertion that this young man’s suicide death was not God’s will for the boy or for the parents and siblings who loved him, corrected me with the firm and solid certitude, “Father Weller, everything that happens is God’s will.” I do not believe that. I believe her statement is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It goes against my own anti-theology that almost nothing that happens in human life is the governance of a merciful and loving, even just, God. Or if she is right, if it is true, I’ll have no part of such a monster deity, who was surely the god of pagan Germany in that Night. Who, what, how dost thou govern all things? Dark theology, pious, naive, oblivious, unthinking, unobservant, medieval, Dark, I see fear but no hope, I’m not feeling the love, and as from 12 Noon EST Friday, 20170120 fearing and praying dost not govern, Lord have mercy, God help us, great, holy God in heaven deliver us. What then to pray tomorrow that rings true? 


DThos+ in Stoppage Time

Pic 1: PB407
Pic 2: 20170128 Sunrise from 7H

* Marion Hatchett, Commentary on the American Prayer Book, 3rd Printing, Seabury, 1981, p.171 
    
The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Micah 6:1-8
Hear what the Lord says:
Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice.
Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,
and you enduring foundations of the earth;
for the Lord has a controversy with his people,
and he will contend with Israel.

“O my people, what have I done to you?
In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.
O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”

“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Psalm 15
Domine, quis habitabit?

1 Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle? *
who may abide upon your holy hill?
2 Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right, *
who speaks the truth from his heart.
3 There is no guile upon his tongue;
he does no evil to his friend; *
he does not heap contempt upon his neighbor.
4 In his sight the wicked is rejected, *
but he honors those who fear the Lord.
5 He has sworn to do no wrong *
and does not take back his word.
6 He does not give his money in hope of gain, *
nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
7 Whoever does these things *
shall never be overthrown.
The New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 1:18-31
The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thur Eve Fri Morn


47°F and 67%, wind 8mph but still on 7H porch so must be a north wind. Monday morning early was dreadful along the Bay, so windy we had to head inland where just a block off the open water the houses and trees cut the fierce wind. Even so, just a few blocks along the bayshore so took the breath away that walking continued difficult and a relief to see the car parked by Holy Pavilion.

Walking mornings regardless, Monday Friday in the Cove, TuWThSaSu here in StAndrews. 

Robert and I are starting later today, Friday is breakfast morning and a bit later start will give us more restaurant options than the Bayou cafes Massalina and Johnson, though enjoy both, want a change. Maybe icy cold glass of milk at Golden Corral? 

Laurus at between 2/3 and 3/4 the Holy Fool interrupted yesterday by arrival in the mail of can’t-put-down The Sunflower. What's bothering, stirring? IDK at 81, +Time demands at least a moderately new direction of some sort for DThos+ and sabbatical is being Time to realize that though likely not Time to sort it out. Whilst summer 2012 experiences were right and good for the Time, not another Jesuitical silent directed retreat: their daily Bible verse and question assignment drill isn’t good or right for 2017.

Therefore ongoing various reading; daily various walk, some to visit and remember, some to look round alone, none to think, thinking is not good news, ανεὐαγγελίον, is that a word - with a dictionary I can fabricate my own German string-word, is that legitimate in koine Greek? nope, doesn’t work in my online translator, but I get it, you don’t need to.


DThos+ into Stoppage Time

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Narnia


We left the barbecue outside on the grill, is what’s bothering me, and Happy got into it. I hollered at him, and clapped my hands, but he paid me no mind, jumped up and got into it anyway. I had to rush out and pull him out of it. Linda had covered it with aluminum foil, but it should've been brought inside to the refrigerator. As I was squatting down patting and hugging him I realized he was pure collie, not like our real shepherd-collie mix Happy, yet the same Happy anyway. He must’ve been in my dream because I liked Walt’s collie named Happy so much when I was there a few weeks ago.

69°F 90% and a line of rain just now coming through with a cold front to lower the temperature about ten degrees. We’ll see.

Why that dream, I wonder. Maybe because sleeping on my right side for, I guess, hours, was crushing my weight down on my right shoulder quite painfully. That and old Father Nature’s annoyance he was ignored all night long. But eight-thirty to four-thirty, not a bad sleep, eh. 

What would, will, it take to make me happy again? Well, other than that, which won’t be happening. Thirty-five to nearly forty years ago I had a business partner, Jerry lived in New Jersey just outside Philadelphia, a major sports fan of the Phillies and Eagles. He belonged to a sports bar club that had a supply of old b&w television sets in a back room, and a brickbat. As each member came into the bar, he drew a number out of a hat by the door, tore the stub off and dropped it into a basket. Just before the game started, someone drew the winning number out of the basket. Soon as Howard Cosell showed up in the sports commentator’s box, whoever had the winning number picked up the brickbat and smashed it through his face on the black and white television screen. I’m thinking of that, but Linda would have to clean up an awful lot of glass over the next four years, or, μὴ γένοιτο, eight, μὴ γένοιτο, wishing me long years. 

Car dealerships aren’t the only thing fading away. People like little fishing villages, the quaintness, the working character of the place, old faded buildings, memories. When I was a boy St. Andrews was still a little fishing village on the west edge of Panama City. Fishing boats, Love the Boats 



seines stretched out drying in the sun, fishermen in work clothes and wearing the flat cap like Alfred’s wearing in his picture astern of the Annie & Jennie above my head at the moment. Walker Gwaltney always wore one of those flat hats, I remember seeing him around town and in our fish market. We had an ice plant here in St Andews, a postoffice, a hardware store that also carried fishing supplies, a gasoline filling station that today is a Thai restaurant, a couple of fish markets, ours and Windham’s which was where Captain’s Table is now; in fact until she died a couple years ago, old Mrs. Windham used to sit in a rocking chair just inside the door, greeting customers; and the St Andrews ice plant was where Captain's Table parking lot is now, I learned and practiced driving taking our old Pontiac and our trucks round the corner from our fish house on 12th Street to the ice plant on Beck Avenue for 300 pound blocks of ice. Whole, or crushed. All that still exists in my memory, unlike what was in some of the dreams I’d love to have held onto except that dreams apparently do not create memories the same as real life experiences. In some cases I’d rather keep the dreams.

So anyway, people love old fishing villages as St Andrews was when my grandparents moved here in 1908 or 1909, I don’t know, my sister Gina knows -- Gina’s birthday was Tuesday while we were in Pensacola. And while my father was growing up here, and while Walt and I were growing up here. And these old fishing villages, as the way of life dies out, go to ruin for some years, then people see opportunity and start opening little restaurants, maybe mainly seafood restaurants, we have all sorts of little cafes here in St Andrews now. 

Or that and little boutique shops: when I was a boy I loved visiting Apalachicola with my father when he was in the fish business, to buy oysters and shrimp for our retail and wholesale business. Apalachicola, which began early in the 19th century as a major Gulf seaport for shipping cotton that was brought down the Apalachicola River to the sea, was a fishing village in my early years. A really run-down shabby fishing village that I loved with all my heart. The fish houses on the river, half of them tumbling down, most of the grand old houses around town needing roofs and painting. The old Chestnut Street Cemetery across the street from the old Episcopal church. That old church used to be open all the time, and I loved going in there, the ancient wood smell, and what Mamie Johnson once called “old prayer-soaked walls.” It never occurred to me in the middle to late 1940s that I’d spend my wonderful middle-age years as the priest there. When Linda, Tass and I moved there in 1984, Apalachicola was still the same enchanting fishing village I remembered from my boyhood, all the same buildings needing roofs and all the same houses still needing paint; but not long after, somebody discovered the town and during our years there it transformed from a fishing village to a town of seafood restaurants and little boutique shops. There’s even a traffic light there now. But I remember St Andrews, and I remember the golden age of Apalachicola and of Trinity Church. 

Why am I doing this, how’d I get here this morning? Ah! yesterday remembering old car dealerships around town that’re long gone, some of the buildings torn down, some boarded up over the showroom’s smashed plate glass windows, my mind fading to fishing villages.

What do I love? That from 7H I see constantly not only Landmark Condominiums where was my grandfather’s fish house and the pier where Annie & Jennie docked, Davis Point with its reminder the A&J last sailed with Alfred, who owned the old house that was never really mine; but also looking out the Beck way, all the places that, unlike the dreams I’d like my mind to have stored as memories instead of losing, are solid in memory every time I glance that way. Pop’s later fish house (picture above and below) where the Shrimp Boat restaurant stands this morning. The ice plant. Our fish house and the white sand dunes on the west side of it, where we stacked our wooden fish boxes until needed and when you went out on the dunes to get a box be damn sure to check because sure as hell there's a huge spider. The parking lot where long ago was the old St Andrews train depot: I’ve told here before about the day, I was probably ten years old, my practicum about male-female activity by hearing noises and glancing up at the stack of mattresses that Mr. Kelley by then used the old train depot as a warehouse for his surplus sales business, where atop the stack of mattresses I could see the head of the teenage boy who worked for Mr. Kelley and the long brown hair of some girl. And there was movement. They did not appreciate that I shouted "Hey!" up to them, and I hope I didn’t cause any malfunction that morning, ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω.  

The Narnia story Voyage of the Dawn Treader opens with Lucy and Edmund at the home of their cousin Eustace, admiring a painting of a curious old sailing ship that hangs on the wall in his room. As they gaze into the picture, somehow the wind from the sea reaches into the room where they are and draws them into the picture: a timeless adventure begins. On the wall in the entryway of 7H hangs the watercolor painting below, 



that Linda’s mother Lucile Peters painted at the scene for my parents back in the late 40s or early 50s, and it hung over our fireplace mantle throughout my teen years, and then for years over the fireplace mantle in Alfred's house. It’s of the scene where my brother and I grew up in St. Andrews. If Aslan were back, and if I had my wish this morning …

Clearing Davis Point just now - - -



DThos+

Top picture: thanks, Mike McKenzie, thanks so very much . . 

"Love the Boats" thanks, PB407, timely and perfect!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Venus


Standing and looking out either direction, north or south, from where I live and sit it’s safe up here. Same looking east or west as I face south; up too, vertical, except as drones buzz round. Doesn’t feel so, though, arriving home from Pensacola last evening, the gates were down, WTFO, not that gates are security but the feel. The sometime sunset security guard doesn’t do it, the feel.

What’s going on? The Kaiser-Frazer 


dealership is gone, pulled down, the old art deco building in Little Dothan, with curved corners and round window, I’m becoming the past. The Hudson dealership on W. 6th Street is long gone, 


I can’t even tell where it was anymore, and the Crosley store 


same vicinity. Now the Nash store, gone, the building pulled down, leaving BayMed crossing MLK you wait till traffic clears both directions then straight across heading west on 6th Street past Walgreens and down the grade to the end at Hamilton Avenue, there’s the building where I went to see the homeliest new American car in Detroit history, the 1949 Nash Airflyte, 


the so-called “bathtub Nash.” Even for decades after, part of the old Nash script showed where paint had flaked off on the front over the showroom, as gone as yesterday. The pointy end has been cut off the Oldsmobile showroom, 


a palm tree or something planted there and the building now in other use. But now home to old refrigerators, the Studebaker dealership


building is doomed, its glass point long broken out and boarded over, I’m feeling boarded over too, what’s going on?

And what happened to this land is my land this land is your land from the Redwood Forest to the Gulfstream waters, what’s happening, war on California and by God federal troops will be sent in if necessary to quell the sanctuary cities rebellion? I remember the old days and the old ways, and they weren’t best, but the rearview mirror is a damn sight brighter than the way ahead where we have nothing to fear but our own Kristallnacht. 



What have we wrought.


DThos+




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

This post is brought to me by the Number Six


+Time: 20110124, exactly six years ago at this early morning moment as family and friends look at each other in the outer waiting room, I am in a high wide corridor lying on a gurney under warm blankets watching hurried activity as my OR team prepares my space. Outside, the Cleveland winter is bitter cold, and this hallway quite chilly, but I am snug and warm, clutching my bottle of nitrostat. Not in the least nervous, perhaps because of pre-op sedative, I actually think I am alert. And I have my dreams ready. 

Placing my ThriftBooks order for two cheap books a friend recommended for my sabbatical reading, I saw the shipping charge was like five bucks, more than twice the price of either used book, but noticed a flag saying if I spent another three bucks, shipping was free. That must be the new math, so I browsed the religious section even though I’m neither spiritual nor, and came upon The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. A hero’s name, Simon Wiesenthal, on the cover was all it took. The books have been shipped and may arrive today or tomorrow, but in the meantime here’s an online synopsis that gives an idea why I thought The Sunflower might be healthy preLent discipline or prescription for a bitter mind and shattered soul: 


“While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Simon Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the SS. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to--and obtain absolution from--a Jew. Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Wiesenthal said nothing. But even years after the war had ended, he wondered: Had he done the right thing? What would you have done in his place? In this important book, fifty-three distinguished men and women respond to Wiesenthal's questions. They are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. Their responses, as varied as their experiences of the world, remind us that Wiesenthal’s questions are not limited to events of the past. Often surprising and always thought provoking, The Sunflower will challenge you to define your beliefs about justice, compassion, and human responsibility.”

Much has been stirring in me of late, including searching for distractions, things to do, places to go, people to see. Notions to contemplate. Movies to watch on my MacBook. Books to read I may’ve started decades ago, waded into and laid down in short order for whatever nonreason. War and Peace, for example, widely acclaimed as all time best fiction of the ages, hit me as an elaborate soap opera forty, fifty or sixty years ago, and still as a matter of fact, but which in this sabbatical I started and read more this time; downloaded and watched the first part of the Soviet film (1966) of it. Other Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, as a sabbatical exercise, and other stuff, again Kafka, MacDonald, Tolkien, near entire library of Die Deutsche Wochenschau with sound muted. As of this morning halfway into contemporary Russian Laurus. I don't read Russian, why those things? For the halibut. Why’m I repeating this? To bring myself up to date only. Up to date includes that recently while browsing Dostoevsky quotes online I also hit a list from Oscar Wilde, having to do with regret, regrets, obsessing over regrets, that tingled my cranium, why? Perhaps in part because regret can stir from guilt or shame that’s a root of the Lenten call to self-examination, penitence, penance, forgiveness. Who can forgive? None but the offended, only the offended, as the above synopsis suggests; which in our theology includes the Deity. I once heard an Episcopal priest scoff, when President Reagan was being heavily criticized for contemplating visiting the German cemetery at Bitburg, where several Nazi SS troops were buried, "It's time to forgive and move on," "Father" said, as if we could forgive ourselves for the Holocaust, and I realized that I was looking at an imbecile who had no concept of sin, offense, penitence and forgiveness. What is forgiveness? I’m not sure precisely except to put It in the same cubby with love which is not a feeling but how we treat other people.  

At any event, here in no order is a list from Oscar Wilde that started my motor ->  

  • One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead.

  • Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight, For the greatest tragedy of them all Is never to feel the burning light.

  • To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.

  • Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.

  • The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret.

  • But then one regrets the loss even of one's worst habits. Perhaps one regrets them the most. They are such an essential part of one's personality.

  • It is better to repent a sin than regret the loss of a pleasure. 

Where am I? With regret in my own history, this morning I'm remembering a job I once had, worked hard at for fourteen years, that I ended up resigning in regret unto despair. When my superior came to "collect my keys" I told him that nothing I had said or done or tried to teach had been heard, that I had wasted fourteen years of my life, wasted my life's Time. That he so strongly disagreed did little to ease my regret but did somehow stir my repentance that took years to work through. Regret and repentance are close but they are not one, in part because regret is not remorse and as opposed to remorse and penitence, one may regret not having sinned more, and more boldly, to the finish line. But there's still a connection, the relationship is there, and just the words get me off to a jump start. Somehow, if Regret and Forgiveness are trains at opposite ends of the same track, one headed south, the other headed north, somewhere they may meet.

What am I giving up for Lent? I'd thought of giving up writing the +Time blog, but it serves me the same mental exercise and benefit as Linda's crossword puzzles, so I continue for this Time of life; though because of great risk of offending anyone I love, permanently stopped and will not resume daily FaceBook link to the daily +Time blog post. (But then anyone with the least imagination who really wants to read it can easily find it). So then, +Time ain't nobody but us chickens. What am I giving up for Lent? Time, I reckon. Time being all I have, perhaps the Time to read another book. Or Time to walk the beach at StAndrewsStatePark. I'm 81: have not walked there since I was 18. And not in imagination since that pre-op time in the Cleveland adventure mentioned above. It's Time.


DThos+ in Stoppage Time