Friday, March 31, 2006

Fisherman Jon

There is nothing my boarder, Jon, likes better than fishing. He'll head for the intercoastal waterways and estuaries to fish, crab and sometimes shrimp, at the crack of dawn.

I've been the recipient of his fishing bounty on a number of occasions. Now that he's renting a room here, I'm benefiting even more from his fishing trips.
Jon (he's in the black t-shirt, and his mom, Sande, and his brother, David, are pictured with him) grilled the drum fish he's holding in this photo, and served it to me and his friend, Joel, a few nights ago. He's brought in a variety of local fish.

In the fall, he brought me blue crab.

I went crabbing with him a couple of times. I used the old-fashioned technique -- luring crabs by dangling a tempting piece of chicken in the water, then scooping up with a net unwary crabs that came to devour the chicken -- thereby proving I am smarter than some crustaceans. Jon, more professional about it, used crab traps.

My dog, Betsy, is a fisherman's dog. She waited anxiously as Jon prepared, seasoned and grilled the drum, and Jon gave her a portion, too.

Eating this delicious fish made me think of the biblical accounts of the Galilean fishermen grilling and eating their catch. They didn't have aluminum foil or prepared seasonings, but in all, the experience is close, and the fish was shared in fellowship.

I must say, Jon made a better haul than this modern-Galilean fisherman.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New look

This blog was looking worn and tired. I chose a new template to give it a different look. Any comments?

And, I can't figure out how to post a photo from my desktop to the member profile -- it wants a URL I tried going to Picasso/Hello for Blogger, but it seems to want not Mac, but windows. Anybody have any suggestions for an easy and cost-free method to do this?

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Word to the Church

This is the pastoral letter resulting from the House of Bishops Meeting at Kanuga, N.C. May God help us heal and truly recognize the wonderful diversity within the church.

House of Bishops Meeting at Kanuga
March 2006

In this Lenten season we greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We write to you from the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where we are gathered for our spring meeting. In Lent God calls us to examine our hearts and renew our companionship with the One who offered himself for the salvation of the world. We are very conscious of the larger context in which we gather and deliberate: in a country where the disparity between rich and poor persists, where we struggle to rebuild lives and communities along the Gulf Coast, a country whose daughters and sons are serving at war overseas. Increasingly we are aware that we represent not a single national church, but one richly comprising congregations in fifteen countries. We wish to share with you something of our journey with Christ during these days of our meeting together.
The unity, mission, and faithfulness of the Church are matters very much in our prayers. We strongly affirm our desire for the Episcopal Church to remain a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, and we recognize that the gift of communion requires generosity and restraint on the part of all. We were blessed by the presence and presentation of our guest from the Church of England, the Right Reverend Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter, who encouraged and challenged us in respect to our relationship with the larger Anglican Communion. On behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ms. Sue Parks, the Manager of the Lambeth Conference, briefed us on the plans for the Lambeth Conference 2008.

We believe that the most effective way to foster communion is to be present for each other, as often as possible, so that we may learn from each other, be corrected by each other, and discern the mind of Christ together. In this regard we were encouraged by the report of the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. We welcomed the Commission's overview of the report that it is preparing in order to assist the General Convention in addressing the critical issues and concerns raised in the Windsor Report, in the Primates' Communiqué, and by the Anglican Consultative Council. The report, which will be completed and issued early in April, affirms our commitment to the Anglican Communion, and will include a number of resolutions to be proposed for consideration by the General Convention. We commend to the prayerful reflection and legislative process of the General Convention this report of the Special Commission as a way forward in faithfulness to our Lord, to the Episcopal Church, and to the Anglican Communion.

A significant experience of our meeting was the opportunity to have a conversation with the seven current nominees for Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church. All the nominees listened carefully and responded with their own insights and perspectives. Our evening together gave testimony to God's blessing upon the life of the Church, and proved helpful as we begin to prepare for the election of the next Presiding Bishop. We are deeply appreciative of the generosity of these our colleagues in offering themselves for this discernment process.

We also benefited enormously from a day spent considering the nature and purposes of biblical interpretation in hearing God's living Word. Our guests for this day, eminent Anglican biblical theologians originally from Kenya, India, and Hong Kong, and the United States, provided us with a profound glimpse of the contexts in which the Word of God comes to life throughout the world.

As part of our continuing commitment to work against the sin of racism, and much informed by what we have learned about ourselves in the wake of last year's hurricanes, we developed a new Pastoral Letter to be read in all congregations. We also wrestled with the grave difficulties regarding immigration and the injustices facing those who come to the United States. Additionally we considered important studies relating to the opportunities and challenges of evangelism and church growth today. As we prepare for General Convention, we commit ourselves to continued prayer and labor for justice for all of God's people, for the unity of the Church, for the faithfulness of the Church, for the mission of God.

At the heart of our meeting was a retreat led by our Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, III. Our time together in prayer was deeply enriched by his profound gifts as a spiritual guide and teacher. This occasion manifested his depth of conviction and generosity of heart, which have so characterized his years as Presiding Bishop and meant so much to so many of us.

As a result of our time together we are better prepared to join at General Convention our sisters and brothers of the House of Deputies, whose presiding officer, the Very Reverend George L. Werner, also addressed us. Together we will journey with hearts confident in God, eager to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance in serving Christ's mission of drawing all things to God.

"For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace" (Isaiah 55:12).

Along with this letter, came a pastoral letter on the "Sin of Racism." It reads, in part,

With God's help, we will:

renew our commitment to the 1994 pastoral letter, "The Sin of Racism"; take responsibility to expose, dismantle and heal those situations of injustice based on racism; seek forgiveness for our lack of charity and consciousness in recognizing those situations which degrade the image of God in our neighbors; make amends for our undeserved position and benefit as a result of unjust situations both now and in the past; empower all members of God's human family, that they may live into the fullness of what God intends; encourage the larger church to continue and expand its work of education, spiritual formation, and anti-racism training, that all might discover the riches of God's diverse creation, especially in those who differ from us; advocate for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, our respective dioceses, the parishes which comprise them, and our governments, as well as our own households, that God's desire may become increasingly evident for all of humanity; recruit and empower people of all races and ethnic origins as leaders in our church, and as members of all boards, agencies, commissions, and committees; dedicate equitable resources for all races and national origins in the funding of theological education for all ministries, lay and ordained; advocate for continued response to the sinful legacy of slavery; expose situations of environmental racism and classism which poison and threaten the poorest among us, and seek justice for those communities; and advocate for compassionate care of the stranger in our midst, and demand just immigration policies.

Amen. And amen. [note: the bolding is mine]

I wonder if all the bishops are aware how easily the word "homophobia" can be substituted for the word ""racism?"

Maybe this at least says something about progress we've made in race relations. I wonder how acceptable many of the bishops would have found this letter 50 or 60 years ago?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Three years later

Kudos to a church friend who sent me a link to the FAIR Web site, where notable media comments from early in the Iraq war have been collected, so that the aforementioned media might eat crow.

It would be funny how the media whores have groveled at the feet of this administration, if it weren't such a serious threat to our freedom.

It would be funny to watch our jingoist, wanna-be-a-wartime president wearing pseudo-military garb and strutting around as he uttered his pseudo-macho pronouncements, if it wasn't such a threat to the safety of our country, the Middle East and the world.

Bush braves a trip to an aircraft carrier in dangerous, terrorist-infested waters off Southern California to tell the sailors the war is all over, May 1, 2003.

This is the real deal in Iraq.

Someone asked me a while back whatever did the prez do to make me so mad at him. Zeesh. Now, it sounds like he wants to invade Iran, too.

Anyway, here's a couple of quotes from the FAIR Web site, with a link to it, in case your stomach can take more:

"Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints."
(Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/27/03)

"We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 5/1/03)

"He looked like an alternatively commander in chief, rock star, movie star, and one of the guys."
(CNN's Lou Dobbs, on Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech, 5/1/03)

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Secrets of the heart

Yesterday I was talking with a young woman who has a wonderful gift from God.

She said she hasn't been using that gift much lately, because she doesn't feel she's living out the Christian message she portrays to the world. She's been sinning, she told me. Doing what she wants to do, instead of what she feels God wants her to do. Miserable, but not repentant enough to change.

I can't imagine her having such a terrible weight on her conscience.

I see nothing but kindness and Christian love coming out of this young woman. I don't know what her sin is, and don't really need to know. I imagine she's someone who's really hard on herself (I spot it, 'cause I got it).

My advice to her was to write what she really feels, and tell God. You can't go around pretending everything's hunky-dory, when you're miserable inside -- how can you have a relationship with God when you're pretending?

God will honor her feelings, and what she tells him, spoken in truth. That's my belief.

The truth will help her, and I can see her helping others who struggle.

A glimpse into the many-chambered heart of another is amazing. How many carry around this pain and negativity, without any outward sign?

It reminds of a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson I read in school, many years ago:

Richard Cory

WHENEVER Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich -- —yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

I pray this young woman will keep talking, first, to God, then to me or someone else. I pray for her healing, and that she will use the gifts God gave her. I pray she will see herself as she is: beloved of God.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Elvis Rex

Yeah, that's me, the big black-and-white Tuxedo cat, in the photo to the left. They call me Elvis. They also call me Shamu. I answer to anything, especially the sound of the treat bag opening.

Remember the story about the 33-pound cat? Well, he's only got about 12 pounds on me. If the UnSaintly One would only feed me five pounds of chicken a day, like that monster gets, I'd easily pass that glorycat.

Anyway. I figured if Jack the Brat (the little pipsqueak next to me in the photo above) can write blog entries, so can I. Politicat, he calls himself. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Then, I'm Domesticat -- I like laying around the house. Or just call me Elvis Rex.

I'm going to update you on things around the household.

Things are changing around here. The UnSaintly One is renting out the spare room in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. There's a roomer named Jon. We had seen him around here a few times before -- he used to work with the UnSaintly One, and came over for dinner once in a while.

Jon's a young kit, around 24 human years. He's pining a bit for his sweetie; she's in Switzerland on some kind of work-study-school thing.

I like Jon. He calls me a Jellical cat, and he scratches my tummy and ears. He feeds me treats, too. Oh, Jon's nice to Jack and Betsy, and he takes Betsy for walks. But I'm his favorite.

The UnSaintly One's been needing some help with things around the house, and Jon's very handy. He's getting her computer set up, too, with better bells and whistles. You'll be seeing more pix on the blog, now.

So, it's pretty cool around here.

The UnSaintly is also starting a weekend job doing cooking demos. She has lovely aprons to wear, and she likes cooking and talking to people, so that should be cool, too.

As long as it keeps me in kibble, treats and litter, I say!

More to come. Signing off, now.

Elvis Rex

Dear Lord, please look after this household, and bless Jon, Elvis, Jack, Betsy and me. Keep each of us safe and well, and look after this house, and keep it a place of blessing. Thank you for all your gifts, and give us hearts to appreciate them. In the name of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray. -- UnSaintly Pat