Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fafting and Prayer -- Advent Approaches

It's late, I've been napping since supper, now going to watch a re-run of NCIS: LA because I get such a kick out of Linda Hunt-- both her as an actress and her character -- and then turn in.

While I was back east for the Big Palaver mid-month I spent the night with friends. Going to these meetings is a conundrum for me -- our actual gathering starts early afternoon, which means that I either go down on "the red-eye", which I just cannot do any more, sorry, folks; or I go down a day early. That entails an extra night in a hotel. It bothers me to put that expense on the national church, even though I'm the only delegate on our side of the table from west of the Great Lakes.

Fortunately, close to the airport: a young couple, whose wedding I officiated, and their two little boys. So we had a fine visit, and I came away with a treasure -- a single volume of a set published in 1796 entitled A History of the Bible which my friends' church had decided to dispense with, in clearing the parish bookshelves. And it is hugely, unexpectedly, entertaining-- very scholarly, of its era, with very lucid explanatory notes and all sorts of lengthy citations from the Fathers and non-Christian ancient sources like Josephus, Suetonius, Diodorus Siculus, et al. I note, too, that although it's battered and somewhat "foxed," the binding holds together and the paper must be "rag," not the high-acid pulp product of a hundred years later -- still nice and flexible, however discoloured.

This volume begins with the "morning after" the Transfiguration -- which, says the author, took place AT NIGHT. Stands to reason, why would anybody schedule such a spectacular light show in the middle of the day? come on! At any rate, Jesus and his friends come down the mountain to confront the father with the lunatic/epileptic son, and the whole ministry of deliverance, including those nuisances which can "only be driven out by [drum roll here] fafting and prayer."

I know I'm getting old when I realize how much amusement I am getting out of something as simple as the "long S" in typography!!! And I'm led to think a little about what kind of a "Faft" would be truly appropriate to Advent practise. What shall I, must I, "abftain" from, to make room for hope, peace, joy, and even love?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Second day...

Awake a little before five this morning. The People's FM Radio plays interesting music until six a.m., after which Teh Stoopid takes over. So I lay and listened; got up a bit after six a.m. when the news was over and made a bit of a list for the day. It looked reasonable...and some of it even got done -- two loads of laundry, a run to the bank, and the Post Office, and two grocery stores. After which, it being payday and all, I treated myself to a (not very good) lunch "out."

Home, and got the groceries put away -- and that's ALL she wrote. Made a good breakfast and a light supper, and I'm finished for the day. Will watch the rest of Monday Night Football, and crawl off to bed.

Much intrigued by the discussion on what our theology says or fails to say about the animal part of creation -- the nonhuman animals, that is -- led me to reflect on some of the background reading I did "back when", preparing lectures on Black Beauty. I knew, I knew, that there were theologians in the background of Anna Sewell's work, and I was please to be able to trace the thread back to Horace Bushnell, q.v. In the process read some interesting notes on Calvin's theological references to animals (not to the impoverished references of CALVINISTS, to animals).

Recalling, in conversation with other RevGals, the doctrinaire objections to the Blessing of Animals in church -- summarized as "Animals don't go to heaven, because they don't have souls." Two thoughts, well, two utterable thoughts, always rose up in response to that: first that it's the Resurrection of the BODY we say we believe in, NOT the immortality of the soul, fine pagan notion though that is. And second -- that if a discernible soul is the criterion, a whole bunch of folks I encounter day by day had better look to their qualifications (grump, grump).

More and more I think that the secret to pragmatic success in parish life is the willingness to condone, flatter, echo, and cheerlead people's envy, contempt, and spite toward other folks. I am so weary of it. Hence, in part, the "Monday face."

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Advent One -- new church year, new season, new week -- old blogger!

Went gadding this morning -- celebrated an 11 a.m. Eucharist in a different parish -- saw a number of old friends and met some new ones. A personal treat, to celebrate according to the Book of Common Prayer, and to hear one of the city's premier organists at work.

Home with every intention of watching the National Classic this afternoon (The Grey Cup -- think Superbowl, think FA Championship, if you're in a different jurisdiction), but after a very good lunch indeed, napped all afternoon on the couch. Much appreciated by Nefertiti the Wonder Cat. Feel asleep right after the national anthem, woke up just in time for the Victory Interviews.

Already late in the evening, relatively, and not having done much to work off my lunch, I've had a bowl of jack-o'lantern soup, with various adornments -- a diced avocado, a slosh of cream, bacon bits, Thai sweet chili sauce -- and a small baked apple, and finished the latte I made before I fell asleep. Bedtime approaches rapidly.

Lots of unbloggables, of late. Too many people know who writes this blog. I was away from home to a Major Eastern Metropolis earlier this month for the semi-annual Big Palaver, and at a reception following our Major Anniversary Celebration, a complete and utter stranger walked up to me and asked, "Are you Crimson Rambler?" Signal for cookie crumbs to "go down the wrong way."

But perhaps attending to the blog daily is a useful part of the structure I am beginning to try to impose upon, or infuse into, my existence. Yes -- I know, I know -- at least every few months for the last thirty-plus years, I have determined to find/create/retrieve/obey some kind of structure, system, order, rationale ... but this is different (also a perpetual whine).

So all the domestic minutiae are coming under scrutiny...with some modest success.

And so is my theology...under the influence of old pressures removed and new pressures recognized.

Time to dismantle my "nest" on the couch, run the dishwasher, set out tomorrow's STRICTLY LIMITED task-list, and so to bed.

Catch y'all again tomorrow if we're spared.
And a happy and blessed Advent to all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

the Friday Five

kathrynzj asks us, this morning:

For today's Friday Five please tell us 5 things you like to do with friends. Are they local - do you hit a favorite coffee shop or nail salon? What about the friends who come in from out of town? Do you have a restaurant or museum you like to show off?

Well, this is a pretty easy five -- I think!

1. EAT. Almost anything, anywhere: here at home, there at their home, or OUT. (Not so much, DRINK, although there is a special asterisked category for "things with little umbrellas in them" while "seated in the shade at the wide end of a Big White Boat")

2. WALK. Even when much of the walk is more of a Determined Sequential Lurch, than a relaxed stroll.

3. TALK. IRL or in any of the variety of media that offer themselves (often combined with 1 or 2, above).

4. TRAVEL. On the road through favourite landscapes (viz. Pointy Bits of this and adjacent provinces, and elsewhere) -- or by other modes, see previous remarks about Big White Boats.

5. WORK (if all else fails and resistance proves useless)...this includes subcategories "COOK" and "KNIT" and a miscellany of other tasks.

most of these are stackable, one way or another, either sequentially or simultaneously.

And there you have it!