Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Adventures in Good Music

I've been geeking out listening to more traditional and even some ancient music. Our church is going to start a new worship service after the beginning of the new year -- a communion service that will be about 30 minutes long. It will have a short homily, a solo piece, a hymn or two and half the time a sung liturgy and half the time a spoken liturgy. Question for those who love music as much as I -- what are some quiet, contempletive yet joyful and celebratory pieces that you personally love? More traditional than contemporary? I love things like "Be Thou My Vision," "Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded," and "Oh What Wonderous Love is This." I also love "Agnus Dei" by Faure. What else do you think could be used?

Advent Hymn

Herald, in the wilderness,
Breaking up the road,
Sinking mountains, raising plains,
For the path of God;

Prophet, to the multitudes
Calling to repent,
In the way of righteousness
Unto Israel sent;

Messenger, God’s chosen one
Foremost to proclaim,
Proffered titles passing by,
Pointing to the Lamb.

Captive, for the word of truth
Boldly witnessing;
Then in Herod’s dungeon cave,
Faint and languishing;

Martyr, sacrificed to sin
At that feast of shame;
As his life foreshowed the Lord,
In his death the same—

Holy Jesus, when He heard,
Went apart to pray:
Thus may we our lesson take
From his saint today.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Just a Reminder

Please make the trip to the companion website for the Advent Devotional book -- http://www.alightblazes.com. And thanks for your support!

More Book Stuff

This is the scanner that came with the software. It probably can be used for other applications-- in fact, I am going to order the Windows software, but I haven't tried to use it anywhere other that the Delicious Library software.

Out of about 1500 scans, a full quarter of my books and CDs did not scan -- because they were private labeled (UGA Accidentals don't have a barcode, for instance) or for the books too old for ISBN. Of the ones that scanned, only a handful scanned funny. And a couple scanned really funny -- "Prayer of Jabez" scanned as "Night of the Living Dead." One must wonder if that is a theological commentary....

But the funniest is almost embarassing to mention -- "Lose Weight, Eat Well While Breastfeeding" scanned as "Let's Go On a Picnic." I almost had a "laugh so hard your sides hurt" moment.

I've been using www.abebooks.com for the harder to find books. I found out that "Bunny's Going Out" (one of Chaos' favorite books) is worth on the open market $98.00. And my poetry books are worth more than the theology books. Children's books, Poetry books and Willie Nelson CDs are the "most valuable" portion of my collection. I've WAY more to enter and scan. I've finished all the books that have been floating around and done maybe 4 shelves out of 49. More later.

Advent Hymn

Arise, sons of the kingdom!
The King is drawing nigh;
Arise, and hail with gladness
The Ruler from on high.
Ye Christians, hasten forth!
Your praise and homage bring Him
And glad hosannas sing Him,
Naught else your love is worth.

Arise, ye poor and needy!
The King provides for you;
He comes with succor speedy,
With mercy ever new.
He Who a beast did heed
Lets not His children perish;
All hopes that man may cherish
He can fulfill indeed.

Arise, ye faint and fearful!
The King now comes with might,
His heart hath long since loved us,
He makes our darkness light.
Now are our sorrows o’er;
No wrath shall e’er befall us,
Since God in grace doth call us
His children evermore.

Haste then, with eager footsteps,
To see your Sovereign there!
He rides as King of Zion,
Strong, glorious, meek and fair.
Draw near the Lord and give
To Him your salutation,
Who bringeth great salvation,
And bids the sinner live.

The King in grace remembers
His loved ones here below
With gifts of royal treasures,
Yea, doth Himself bestow
Through His blest Word and grace.
O King, arrayed in splendor,
To Thee all praise we’ll render
Here and there face to face.

O rich the gifts Thou bring’st us,
Thyself made poor and weak;
O Love beyond expression
That thus can sinners seek!
For this, O Lord, will we
Our joyous tribute bring Thee,
And glad hosannas sing Thee,
And ever grateful be.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Books, Books, Books

I'm using my new toy. The barcode scanner makes the work go faster -- but there are a significant number of books I own that have no barcode. I have to enter them in one at a time. It is cool that the software looks up the book on Amazon, and cool that I can find an immediate price for the book. This will come in handy if we ever have a disaster -- I can replace my books. My parents always had some sort of home inventory -- maybe I can do that too, when I get time. It's not a bad idea. The least I can do is take pictures of each room and do a rough catalog.

I was shocked at what is considered valuable and what is not -- I didn't know that I owned so many books that are valued at one single copper penny. Books that I love and that I consider good friends. And then there are the books that are worth a lot of money (at least to this person!) -- I have a slender book of poems by Edgar Guest from 1916 that sells for $103. Yet it's worth a lot more to me in some ways -- it was my grandmother's and I read one of the poems at my father's funeral and one at my mother's funeral.

And I supposed I was shocked that the most valuable CDs in my meager collection are the Willie Nelson CDs that were my Dad's. Willie Nelson! (I sit for a moment in stunned silence.)

And the most valuabe movie is a VHS called "12 O'clock High." Wow. Who would have guessed?

I'm going back at it. The "little project to catalog my theology books" has become "the huge project taking over my living room." I swear they are mulitplying.....

Morning Prayer and Advent Hymn

The advent of our God
Our prayers must now employ,
And we must meet Him on His road
With hymns of holy joy.

The everlasting Son
Incarnate deigns to be;
Himself a servant’s form puts on
To set His people free.

Daughter of Zion, rise
To meet thy lowly King,
Nor let thy faithless heart despise
The peace He comes to bring.

As Judge, on clouds of light,
He soon will come again,
And all His scattered saints unite
With Him in Heaven to reign.

Before the dawning day
Let sin’s dark deeds be gone;
The old man all be put away,
The new man all put on.

All glory to the Son
Who comes to set us free,
With Father, Spirit, ever One,
Through all eternity

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Morning Prayer and Advent Hymn

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Refrain

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

Refrain

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Refrain

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Refrain

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Refrain

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Hymn in Latin

Jesus refulsit omnium
Pius redemptor gentium
Totum genus fidelium
Laudes genus dramatum

Quem stella natum fulgida
Monstrat micans per authera
Magosque duxit praevia
Ipsius ad cunabula

Illi cadentes parvulum
Pannis adorant obsitum
Verum fatentur ut Deum
Munus freundo mysticum.

---(Jesus, light of all the nations), by Saint Hilary of Poitiers (368 AD)

*Sorry, no translation available. Nor tune, except for the Chant linked above.
Here is a 14th century tune of another of St. Hilary's hymns. This is the oldest known Advent/Christmas carol. It probably was written around 320 AD (or CE, depending on your political correctness.) St. Hilary began to write hymns as a polemic against heresies, knowing that words set to music would have much more entry into the common man's psyche.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cherry Tree Carol

When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee

And one day as they went walking, all in the garden green
There were berries and cherries as thick as may be seen
There were berries and cherries as thick as may be seen

Then Mary said to Joseph, so meek and so mild
"Joseph, gather me some cherries for I am with child"
"Joseph, gather me some cherries for I am with child"

The Joseph flew in anger, in anger flew he
"Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee
Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee"

Then up spoke baby Jesus, from out Mary's womb
"Bow down ye tallest tree that my mother might have some
Bow down ye tallest tree that my mother might have some"

So bent down the tallest tree to touch Mary's hand
Said she, "Oh look now Joseph, I have cherries at command"
Said she, "Oh look now Joseph, I have cherries at command"

When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving

I awoke today to the smell of no-turkey. It's not time and we are going elsewhere. I awoke to the sound of no-television -- the kids are asleep. I awoke today to the sight of no-light -- it was too early for the sun. I awoke today to the feel of no-warmth -- I had kicked the covers off.

I'm dwelling in a null-time.

I awoke remembering a particular Thanksgiving. I was about Entropy's age -- maybe 9 when we spent Thanksgiving with my Aunt Elizabeth and Cousin Margaret and Vi. I suppose it was in the 1960's. We took Papa with us to Margaret's house off Scott Blvd in Decatur. She had collected her mother Elizabeth earlier in the day and they had gone to church to take communion. Both Margaret and Elizabeth had white lace scarves still draped on their heads when we arrived. Even though they were Episcopalian and the scarves were not required, it just wasn't seemly to go to church with your head uncovered. They both mourned the passage of white gloves and hats.

Elizabeth was Papa's youngest sister. She was his favorite because they were the closest in age. By this time, they were both in their late 70's -- Papa had been a widow for quite a while and so had Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a beautiful woman -- stout and solid, yet, but with beautiful white wavy hair she caught up in a French Twist, blue blue eyes, a long patrician nose, ears that looked as delicate as seashells set in her hair. She was a woman who always smiled and had a twinkle in her eyes. I loved my Aunt Elizabeth. Her daughter Margaret looked so much like her -- elegant and a true southern lady. They wore matching pearls and twin-sets that day.

My father was Margaret's first cousin -- and even though there were cousins that numbered more that 80, she was his favorite. They both were only children and were close in age -- and grew up just down the street from each other. They were close as brother and sister in some ways.

I don't remember a lot from that Thanksgiving -- I remember playing with Margaret and Vi her husband's kitties and bunnies. I always had a Vimont kitten. The last Vi kitty was my mother's cat Willie -- who died almost 5 years go. We called him a "cow-cat" because of his markings -- black saddle on his back with a black tail. He was marked like a black and white cow. Vi was a softy for kitties and bunnies. He wore a "smoking jacket" when he was in the house -- sounds really elegant except it was frayed at the edges. He would hold the bunnies and pet them; and they would chew on his cuffs and collar.

I remember sitting in the living room after roaming the back ground, cutting camillias for the table, playing with the bunnies and kittens. It was a sunken living room and seemed an oasis. Grey wallpaper with big pink roses, a grey/blue sofa, gold armchairs, an oriental rug, a huge Jade plant. We sat there and sipped tea and eggnog as we waited on the pumpkin pie. Gold light streamed from the windows lighting up Aunt Elizabeth's hair as she sat on the sofa holding Papa's hand. Mama and Margaret had stopped washing dishes, Daddy and Vi had emerged from the basement after making mysterious noises from Vi's shop. We sat in the living room and just enjoyed each other's company. I had my head in Aunt Elizabeth's lap and she stroked my hair and I dozed for a while.

I remembered this moment as I dozed in my bed this morning. I had twisted my hair in a french twist last night and saw my Aunt and Cousin looking at me from the mirror. I come downstairs and sit on my blue sofa and a blue oriental rug. I pet my little kitty. They have all passed on -- except for myself and my sister. I suppose that I'm not really dwelling in the null -- I have filled my life with memories of those loving golden moments. In a little while, we are going to a good friend's house. My children will romp in the backyard with the puppies and explore the house. We'll sit on the deck and sip wine. I may even wear a twin-set with pearls. I may take my Book of Worship or Book of Common Prayer and some Jeezits and give thanks that way. My friends are good and loving people. They will love my children as their grandchildren -- and I will help them ease the pain of dealing with aging and dying parents.

After lunch, they will go to the nursing home where they have both of their mamas. Her father is dying 3000 miles away of terminal lung cancer -- and she cannot go. I will help ease their pain maybe a little -- they will ease mine. And then I'll come home and put my turkey breast in the oven for a couple of hours, make the dressing and greenbeans, make the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. And my family will give thanks. Because life is good. Life is good. God is good. All the time.

Morning Prayer

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six wing├Ęd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

-- Words, Liturgy of St. James 4th Century, Music, Gerard Moultrie 1864

"I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!'
Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!'
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.
But the LORD is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him."
-- Habakkuk 2:1, 19-20

Restore us, O God; let your face shine,
that we may be saved.
O LORD God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
-- Psalm 20:3-5

God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
-- I Corinthians 1:9

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,
Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length,
Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
-- Breastplate of St. Patrick

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Advent

Advent starts on Sunday. I've been thinking about hymns. We typically sing Christmas Carols for the Advent season. But there are only a handful of Advent hymns in our hymnals. Advent just isn't celebrated the way it used to be. For instance, we now use blue instead of purple because we do not view this season as one of reflection and repentance.

So starting on Sunday I am going to blog one Advent hymn a day, with music. I've collected a fair amount, but still am missing about 10. I'll research it a little further, but anticipate that in the Morning Prayer every morning, I'll blog a relatively unknown Advent hymn.

Update:
Just for the heck of it, I used a free online translator to translate the above blog entry to Greek and then back to English. This is what I got:

Beginnings of appearance Sunday. I have thought for the anthems. Tragoyda'me of characteristically ka'lanta Christmas for the season appearance. But exists only a handful of anthems of appearance in the hymnals us. The appearance is precisely not celebrated the way that was. For example, we now use blue antj' purple because we see this season as one from the reflection and repentance.

Thus initial Sunday I go in blog a anthem appearance daily, with the music. I have collected a fair sum, but still AM that it loses roughly 10. Him I will search little further, but prosdoki'ste this in the prayer of morning each morning, Blog a relatively unknown anthem of appearance.

And now Simplified Chinese:
Appears the start on Sunday. I consider the hymn. We typically sing Christmas day Carols appear the season. But has only several to appear the hymn in ours hymnals. It passes is frequently the appearance does not celebrate the way. For example, We now use the blue color to replace the purple because we do not watch this season to take reflects and regretfully realizes one's mistakes.

So starts me on Sunday to go to blog to appear the hymn daily, By music. I have collected the suitable amount, But still in the morning missed approximately 10. I further will study its, But expected prays every morning in the morning, An my will Prime Minister blog to place unknown appearance hymn.


heh heh heh. Funny. Hat tip to Katherine.

Morning Prayer

Thankful for the morning light,
Shining over earth and sea;
Thankful for the gift of sight
O Father, Lord, to Thee.
To Thee with all the heart I pray,
Now at the dawning of the day;
I know Thou hast me in Thy care,
And Thou wilt hear my prayer.

Thankful for the power to hear;
Thankful for the power to speak;
Lord, to Thee I bend my ear,
Thy holy face I seek,
To Thee my earliest thoughts are giv’n,
Like incense, may they rise to Heav’n;
And from Thee thence a blessing bear,
In answer to my prayer.

Thanks I give for strength and health,
Making all my pulses leap;
Greater boon than boundless wealth
Is waking out of sleep.
content and glad for each new day,
O father, Lord, to Thee I pray;
I pray to Heav’n for Thou art there;
And Thou art everywhere.

Greatest boon is heart of love;
May at length this heart be mine;
Lord, Thou sendest from above
Thy love and truth divine.
And they shall purge the willing soul
Of earthly ills, and make it whole;
For Thou didst come those ills to bear,
And canst not spurn my prayer.


Dearest Lord God,
It's a hard day for me. Tomorrow will be a hard day. Help me to be thankful in little, ordinary things. Help me to celebrate the ones who are no longer here. Help me to be grateful for small kindnesses, help me celebrate the love I have for friends and family. Help me take comfort in the presence of my family -- and also the lives that the empty chairs represent.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'm Into Nostalgia Today

I'm into nostalgia today.* I found this website and have spent hours looking at the pictures. This time of year, I get into nostalgia. We are not going anywhere for Thanksgiving -- no one is coming here. It wasn't too long ago when there were 18 to 20 people that would crowd into my parent's house -- or 8 to 10 that would crowd into the Loving Husband's parent's house. Now, except for my sister and his brothers, they are all gone. Every single person older than myself has died -- I became the matriarch of the family at age 39. I tear up when I type that because I miss them.

Every year I process this. It's getting better. Three years ago, I couldn't help my family decorate the tree. Last year, I didn't help actually place the ornaments, but I stayed in the room and untangled them and handed them to the girls. Grieving is such a slow process. I read my writings for the last 4 years and they dwell on the morose sometimes. This is really not my nature -- I'm much like Kaylee from the show Firefly and am usually too cheerful to live. But it's hard to look at pictures of Thanksgiving past and notice all the empty places. I can't look at the pictures and do the "do you remember?" game anymore -- because I don't want to remember, I just want them back.

I know that it's time for new traditions. This will be the first year that the Loving Husband's father will spend with his new wife. We had planned to go to their house for Thanksgiving, but Entropy is still too weak from rheumatic fever. We have been invited to friend's houses (3 different invitations) for Thanksgiving, but the Doctor tells me we need to keep Entropy home. So we will be home. Maybe that is a very good thing. Maybe that's what we need to go. Stay at home. Dwell in our own house for a while. Be intentional in the things we do with each other. Nurture each other. Put up the Advent wreath and the nativities. Go get a tree and decorate it. Find something "crafty" to do with the girls and create in the midst of our grief. Did you know that after Mt. St. Helen's exploded and blanketed the area with grey, heavy, suffocating ash -- after a while the plants came back? With extreme vigor and life? In 10 years, the area was richer with vegatation than it had been before -- all new growth, true, but the ashes of that death became fertilzer for the new growth? This is what I am going to dwell with this Thanksgiving. Thanks be to God.

*as proof of my extreme nostalgia -- I needed/wanted a new blender. I found this on ebay. I bid on it and won. It's your basic bulletproof blender.** And it's just like the one my Grandmama and my mama had when I was a kid. Yep, nostalgia.



** next I am going to look for a bulletproof waffle iron***, toaster and mixer. Good, solid metal appliances like my parents had that aren't like the "disposable" appliances you find now-a-days.

***funny story about a bullet proof waffle iron. Good friend was a small child in Alabama (always Alabama, you know, for these sorts of stories). Her daddy and granddaddy went ahuntin' (never a "g" at the end of that word). They just dumped their pockets out on the kitchen counter one night -- pocket knives and change and whatnot and ammo. Right next to the waffle iron. My friend was about 5 at the time. She noticed the ammo would fix into the waffle iron and spent some time making patterns in the grid. And then closed the lid -- with the ammo in the waffle iron. The next morning her grandmother plugged in the waffle iron. After it warmed up a little, the ammo went off and began to zing around the kitchen and the waffle iron grazed her grandmother in the hip. After they got back from the hospital, her grandmother**** cleaned up the waffle iron a little and made waffles. THAT'S bulletproof.

****actually, in retrospect, I wonder if it was the waffle iron that was bulletproof, or the grandmother.....

Monday, November 21, 2005

Morning Prayer

At your feet, O Christ, we lay
your own gift of this new day;
Doubt of what it holds in store
Makes us crave your aid the more;
Even in a time of loss,
Mark, it Savior, with your Cross.

Yes, we would your Word embrace,
Live each moment on your grace,
All ourselves to you consign,
Fold up all our wills in yours,
Think, and speak, and do, and be
Simply that which pleases you.


"Even now," declares the LORD,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning."
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.

Who knows? He may turn and have pity
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the LORD your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.

Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.

Let the priests, who minister before the LORD,
weep between the temple porch and the altar.
Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their God?' "
-- Joel 2:12-17

He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as his counselor has instructed him?
Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the isles like fine dust.
-- Isaiah 40:11-15


Lord God, You alone are holy. It is You will that creation be restored -- and that Your son is the new Adam, the first of You new creation. Christ alone is our restoration. Christ alone is the King of kings and Lord of Lord. Lord God, grant that all the people of earth may be freed and united under Your gracious and grace-fulled rule. Grant that all the people of this earth may no longer be divided by sin and enslaved by its power. Grant us freedom from its oppression.

Jesus, Our Christ, You stretched out Your arms in love -- and we nail your outstretched loving arms to the hard and unforgiving wood of the cross daily. Yet those arms gather Your people to You as a loving shepherd gathers up the lost lambs of the flock. You feed us in love, you gather us up in your aching arms with love -- You hold us close to Your heart in love. You lead us gently and gracefully with You love. Let our arms be Your arms. Clothe us with You Spirit so that we too can reach forth our hands in love and bring to Your flock the lost who live not knowing your love.

Send down upon Your clergy and upon the congregations committed to their charge, Your Holy Spirit, so that when they stand between heaven and earth proclaiming your Word to your people that they may truly be doing Your will. Grant this for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Be Thou My Vision

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Delicious Library

Ok,ok.
I need to organize. So I'm starting with this. There were a couple of other products, but it was the pretty website and the screenshots that did it.

Lookee the widdle pictures! It shows nice little pictures of the book/DVD/CD whatever. And this is $45 less that the second runner-up. And it's like won awards. I'll probably use it to organize the (non-existant as of yet) Church Library. Better than an excel spreadsheet....

Update: It's a Macintosh product that uses the internet to scan almost any media. Just enter the title or ISBN and it looks it up automatically. It requires OS X, but it's so superior to what I've seen in the price range, I may purchase/cobble together an old Mac to run OS X so that I can do this in the church library. There ARE other products -- and probably would be within my price range if I didn't get the fancy-schmancy bluetooth scanner. But the scanner will hold 500 titles/barcodes and you don't have to carry the computer to the books or books to the computer -- when in range it downloads automatically. It was the ease of use that did it for me -- everything you need in one package, including keeping track of borrowers (and their profiles). If there are other books/media of the same vein, it makes suggestions automatically.

When the computer and I aren't in the library, I can printout the book list and put it in a binder....

Friday, November 18, 2005

Children's Book Meme

1) Earliest book you remember (read to you or by you) -- Scat Cat! It was green and I loved it.

2) Picture Book you would like to climb into -- Velveteen Rabbit (well, climb in comfy chair and read)

3) Favorite series of books (then or now) -- The Runaway Bunny -- especially when read over and against Number 5. (Note: The book was used in the award winning play WiT and was called in the play "a little allegory of the soul." This book seriously makes me want to cry. So does Velveteen Rabbit, for that matter.)

4) Character you would most like to meet -- Captain Underpants and give him a good wedgie. Really.

5) Last childhood book you re-read (for yourself or to someone) -- The Giving Tree - Ugh.

I think that The Giving Tree should be read over and against three other books:
The Lorax
The Runaway Bunny
The Tale of the Three Trees
Here's a discussion, if you wish.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mystery Quote

And I quote:
I should rejoice (so little ambitious am I to be at the head of any sect or party) if the very name might never be mentioned more, but be buried in eternal oblivion. But if that cannot be, at least let those who will use it, know the meaning of the word they use. Let us not always be fighting in the dark. Come, and let us look one another in the face. And perhaps some of you who hate what I am called, may love what I am by the grace of God; or rather, what "I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus."

Any guesses??

That's right! John Wesley! The name he wished buried? Methodist!

I really like the next part -- Let us not always be fighting in the dark. Come, and let us look one another in the face. And perhaps some of you who hate what I am called, may love what I am by the grace of God.

Week almost gone...

and the blogging slowed way down. May Great and Profound thoughts this week -- but just can't remember them now. May Insightful Things uttered by small children, but, uhm, can't remember them either. Except when little bit (Entropy) wandered down way after bed time last night. She said "Chaos keeps snapping at me to be quiet. I AM quiet. I think she's just grumpy. Do you think she needs an anger management seminar?"

No dear, she's just becoming a teenager.

Things that make you go Hmmmm....

Food for thought.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Evening Prayer


Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
*

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
--John 8:12

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.
--Phos Hilaron

The law of the LORD is perfect and revives the soul; *
the testimony of the LORD is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent.
The statutes of the LORD are just and rejoice the heart; *
the commandment of the LORD is clear and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean and endures for ever; *
the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, *
sweeter far than honey, than honey in the comb.
--Psalm 19:7-10

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
--Luke 16:10-13

God our Father, whose Son forgave his enemies while he was suffering shame and death: Strengthen those who suffer for the sake of conscience; when they are accused, save them from speaking in hate; when they are rejected, save them from bitterness; when they are imprisoned, save them from despair; and to us your servants, give grace to respect their witness and to discern the truth, that our society may be cleansed and strengthened.

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ.

Lord, Abide with us through the good and the bad. Through times of joy and times of pain. Help us to keep the honey of your Word on our tongues and let the sweetness flavor our lives. In the name of your beloved Son; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


*Lyte was inspired to write this hymn as he was dying of tuberculosis; he finished it the Sunday he gave his farewell sermon in the parish he served so many years. The next day, he left for Italy to regain his health. He didn’t make it, though—he died in Nice, France, three weeks after writing these words. Here is an excerpt from his farewell sermon:

O brethren, I stand here among you today, as alive from the dead, if I may hope to impress it upon you, and induce you to prepare for that solemn hour which must come to all, by a timely acquaintance with the death of Christ.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A post from a friend's page


My Loving Husband's friend Steve. Here's a real laptop cat. I wonder if the keyboard can get furballs? And notice it's on eBay? Shopping for catnip, maybe?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

An Open Letter to the Bishops from Rex Matthews

Can be found here. It is a very well articulated argument and discussion of Judgement 1032. Well worth the read.

In his conclusion, he writes:
This open letter represents the thoughts and views of one United Methodist lay person. Mine is only one voice, but I feel compelled to use it in an attempt to say as clearly and cogently as possible why I think Judicial Council Decision 1032 is so misguided in its judgment, so flawed in its reasoning, so wrong in its conclusions, and so dangerous to the Church. I urge you, indeed I implore you, as the episcopal leaders of the Church, to expend every possible effort to ensure that this decision is reconsidered and reversed by the Judicial Council at the earliest possible moment, and if the Judicial Council refuses to reconsider and reverse this decision, to exercise leadership in efforts to overturn it through appropriate legislative enactment at the 2008 General Council.

Dr. Matthews is Visiting Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Candler School of Theology and teaches Wesleyan Theology.

In response to John's comment last night

John,
When I posted this I was indeed going for levity. Last week we didn't realize the implications of not the first decision which I believe we all expected, but the implications of the second decision. It was before the mud-slinging and hate spewing started. Not that I regret doing it, but I regret that it missed it's mark. Humor can diffuse a situation sometimes -- or make it much worse. I'm sorry that I made it worse for you.

But the analogy of a witch-hunt and witch burning strikes me. If you study all the way to the end of the Salem witch trials, there are so very many parallels. A behavior that does not follow the norm -- sinful behavior perhaps is singled out. Hate and hysteria follows and when the fervor dies down there are bodies laying around.

There have been other times we have castigated a group of people for their behaviors -- I can think of several in Methodist history. The southern slave owners against the northern church -- or worse yet, their own brothers. Union county in Georgia is named so because most people in the county were union supporters. There were groups within the church that castigated Masons -- calling them the spawn of Satan. There are many hate filled pamphlets that were written; schisms in the church. There were those who supported prohibition -- and those who did not. There were those who supported women receiving the vote -- and those who did not. There were those who wanted the churches of the Central Conference to be disbursed -- and those who did not. There were those who supported women's ordination -- and those who did not.

In the history of the UMC (and all the branches of Methodism that have become the UMC) there have been many many incidents where a movement has risen up within the Methodist church and that movement has caused fervor -- and typically the Methodist denominations have selected the most socially progressive one. Typically. We started as a socially progressive movement within the Anglican Church -- one that stressed personal piety and holiness of heart and life. They (the early Methodists) were castigated by the surrounding society -- the word "Methodist" was one first used in derision.

So, I was striving for irony in this piece. Yet again the Methodist movement has found a socially sensitive topic. And yet again, people have become heated in their rhetoric. Those who believed that slavery was Biblical in the southern church and argued it in the 1840's and 1850's were sincere. The church broke in half. It took more than 100 years for us to unify. Yet all has been well. The schism was mended. From it there was growth. I believe that the social justice flavor that our denomination took in the 1890's was a result of that schism.

Where will this current fervor lead? I hope and pray that first it can be discussed dispassionately. But I fear this cannot be so. Will it lead to schism? Will it lead to hate mongering? Will it lead to brother fighting against brother? I pray that it does not. We have entered a state of postantidisestablishement. Hence the perceived weakening of the church universal in America. Hence the movement toward non-English (Hispanic for instance) liberation theologies. The English speaking world is no longer the leader in making disciples for Christ. Will the universal church in America become the church in Europe? This is a time for unity – not a time for schisms. Let’s continue the conversations in respect for each other and in the Love of God that is found in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Congregational Pledge

Do you, as Christ's body, the church,
reaffirm both your rejection of sin
and your commitment to Christ?

We do

Wil you nurture one another in the Christian faith and include these persons now before you in your care?

With God's help we will proclaim the good news
and live according to the example of Christ.
We will surround these persons
with a community of love and forgiveness,
that they may grow in their trust of God,
and be found faithful in their service to others.
We will pray for them
That they may be true disciples
who walk in the way that leads to life.


from pp. 34-35 UM Hymnal.

Today's question:
What does membership in a local church really mean, theologically? If a person has prayed the sinner's prayer, accepted Christ as Lord, repented of their sin -- what does the membership in a local church really mean?

Second question:
We have looked at this as a failing of first the pastor to be truly inclusive then as a failing the person seeking membership to be truly repentant -- but perhaps this a failing of ourselves and our local congregations. Are we really fulfilling our congregational pledge? Are we proclaiming the good news of Christ? Are we living according to the example of Christ? Are we surrounding people with a community of love and forgiveness?

Morning Prayer

Cry for help, when griefs assail you,
good friends fail you, life seems hopeless, death appears.
One whose child knew deep affliction,
crucifixion,
ever waits to dry your tears.

Wake my soul with all things living
thanks be giving to the Source of life and day
Sunlight comes and gone confusion,
night's illusion, like the starlight
fades away.


Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.

He established a decree in Jacob,
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their ancestors,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.

21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon." 23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us." 24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." 26 He answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." 27 She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed instantly.
--Matthew 15:21-28

Creator God, Redeemer God, Sustainer God,
You have spoken to me in dark parables -- things hard to see, things hard to hear, things hard to speak.
The darkness of these word swirl around me -- yet there is always hope. Even when Your people are not steadfast, You are always faithful. Even when Your people are stubborn and rebellious, You are full of Grace and Mercy. You still Your jealous hand; even when life seems hopeless and death is near, You comfort Your people.

Today I ask for crumbs. That's all I can ask for. Have mercy on me Lord; there are demons about. Lord, help me; Lord, help us Your children. You have the food that will nourish us with life eternal. Grant us healing and wholeness. It grieves me when I see your fractured church -- daily we crucify your Body -- yet You are merciful and daily You rise to new life. Pour your healing spirit on Your church. I pray for unity. I pray for peace. I pray for healing.

In the name of your crucified and resurrected Son, Jesus, the Christ, I pray. Amen.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Action Alert from UMOM

ACTION ALERT from

UNITED METHODISTS FOR OPEN MEMBERSHIP
umom1032@gmail.com

Our denomination has just been hijacked by judicial activists on the United Methodist Judicial Council.

In Decision 1032 the Judicial Council has:
refuted our Methodist heritage of accepting all into the membership of our churches.
undone large pieces of the due process protection guaranteed to laity of the United Methodist Church by the UM Book of Discipline.
invented a role for the pastor to act as sole judge and jury around fitness for membership.
replaced the strong guarantees of inclusiveness contained in paragraph 4 of the church's constitution with a principle of pastoral discretion.

Should this ruling stand, there will be no limits as to who might be refused membership.

The ruling handed down by the Judicial Council is chilling in its implications.

WE CAN NOT LET THIS DECISION STAND!

TAKE ACTION:
Write to the Judicial Council and demand that they, on their own motion, reconsider and reverse Decision 1032. Read the decision carefully (web link below) and then express your own deep concerns about its contents. Ask that the Judicial Council respond directly to your letter.


Send letters and/or emails to:

Keith Boyette, Secretary
United Methodist Judicial Council
10501 Plank Road
Spotsylvania, VA 22553
judicialcouncil@umc.org

Send copies to:

Bishop Peter Weaver, President
Council of Bishops
P.O. Box 249
Lawrence, MA 01842-0449
bishopsoffice@neumc.org

UMOM
P.O. Box 15750
Washington, DC 20003
umom1032@gmail.com


Pass this action alert on to every fair-minded United Methodist you know. Tell them to take action now. Make sure they send the UMOM a copy of their letters with their name, address and email so we can keep them connected and let them know of further united actions!

Web link for JC decision 1032: http://archives.umc.org/interior_judicial.asp?mid=263&SN=1001&EN=1032&JDMOD=VWL )

Kathryn J. Johnson, Executive Director
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol St., NE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 546-8806
http://www.mfsaweb.org

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Book of Discipline Paragraph 214 and 225

Paragraph 214 Eligibility -- the United Methodist Church is a part of the holy catholic (universal) church, as we confess in the Apostles' Creed. In the Church, Jesus Christ is proclaimed and professed as Lord and Savior. All people may attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments and become members in any local church in the connection (paragraph 4). In the case of persons whose disabilities prevent them from reciting the vows, their legal guardian[s], themselves members in full covenant relationship with God and the Church, the community of faith, may recite the appropriate vows on their behalf.

Paragraph 225 Transfer from Other Denominations -- A member in good standing in any Christian denomination who has been baptized and who desired to unite with The United Methodist Church may be received as either a baptized or professing member by a proper certificate of transfer from that person's former church.....

The vows:
On behalf of the whole church, I ask you:
Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedmess,
reject to evil powers of this world,
and repent of your sin?

Do you accept the freedome and power God gives you
to resist evil, injustice and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves?

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior,
put your whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as your Lord,
in union with the church which Christ has opened
to people of all ages, nations and races?

According to the grace given to you,
will you remain faithful members of Christ's holy church
and serve as Christ's representatives in the world?

Then the Creed.

As members of Christ's universal church,
will you beloyal to The United Methodist Chruch
and do all in your power to strengthen its ministries?

As members of this congregation,
will you faithfully participate in its ministries
by your prayers, your presence,
your gifts and your service?

*************************************************

The issue: Earlier this summer a pastor denied membership to a homosexual person. I do not know the person; I do not know if he is practicing or is in a relationship. I know nothing about the person. The associate pastor was disturbed by this and charges were brought. The Judical council ruled in the Senior Pastor's favor and he was reinstated. The ruling was not unanimous. There are dissenting opinions being written. The Council of Bishops released a letter in which it was clear to me that they did not agree with this ruling. The internet is abuzz with a multitude of differing opinions, some of them rather heated. The ruling hinges on the word "may" in paragraph 25. One conference has called for a special meeting of general conference to deal with that little word "may."

I posted a few things, many of which I took down after I attracted some attention that I did not wish. Primarily two persons I have characterized as "trolls" -- not a loving attitude on my part and I apologize. These two persons posted many messages the gist of which were "death to all fags" and "death to all fag-lovers" along with "death to all women clergy." They then condemned myself and all fags and women clergy to hell and were very descriptive in their language about the tortures I would encounter in hell. Since then I took down several of the postings and all of remarks made by these two persons. Hence, my logic may have seemed choppy and at least two people have thought I was reacting to them -- an understandable mistake. I have been rather defensive the last few days and I apologize. I should not have used the word 'troll' so indiscrimately.

I have vowed to uphold the Discipline of the UMC. The language in the Discipline is clear and extremely open. There do not seem to be conditions to membership to this reader. I always understood membership in a church to be a means of grace -- as is reading the Bible, prayer and attending to the ordinances of God. We are not expected to be perfect before we join the church, but repentant. Who is to judge a person's repentance? If they continue in sin? What *is* sin? Why are some sins considered worse that others? I, personally, could be considered a glutton. I eat more that is required to sustain life. So when I eat a large meal, I am continuing in sin. I fall prey to the sin of covetousness. I regularly covet what belongs to my neighbors -- especially compter equipment. This is continuning in sin. I have gone to a resturant on Sundays -- and thus do not keep the Sabbath.

I end up, as usual, with more questions than answers. As a moderate who began life as an extreme conservative Calvinistic evangelical, I often wonder where we draw the line. And I realize that it's the wrong question -- it's not where *I* draw the line. It's more of Amos' plumb line -- and that we all fall short. But thanks to God, I don't have to make up the deficit alone. I can't make up that deficit alone. The question is "Do you Love me?" And I answer "Yes, Lord, I love You." "Feed my sheep." It's time for me -- for us -- to go and feed sheep. It's time for me to love my neighbor, even the trolls. It's time to pray. It's time to attend to the ordinaces of God -- even with those who don't look like me or act like me. It's time.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Just an observation

You can tell a lot about a person's opinions by the way they spell "women"
1. Women -- normal, average English spelling.
2. Wimmen -- as in "Wimmen don't belong in no pulpit!"
3. Womyn -- as in "Womyn will not even contain the name of man in their designation."

Just an observation.

Morning Prayer

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.
-- Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153

"I will appoint a time," says God; *
"I will judge with equity.
Though the earth and all its inhabitants are quaking, *
I will make its pillars fast.
I will say to the boasters, 'Boast no more,' *
and to the wicked, 'Do not toss your horns;
Do not toss your horns so high, *
nor speak with a proud neck.'"
For judgment is neither from the east nor from the west, *
nor yet from the wilderness or the mountains.
It is God who judges; *
he puts down one and lifts up another.
For in the LORD'S hand there is a cup,
full of spiced and foaming wine, which he pours out, *
and all the wicked of the earth shall drink and drain the dregs.
--Psalm 75:3-8, KJV

"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
John 17: 6-19

Let your will be done, God. On this earth, in Your time. Let your Glory reign supreme. Forgive us. Guide us. Nourish us. Sustain us. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Last thought of the day

I'm beginning to wonder if all the fuss and bother in the UMC this week is really caused because we aren't all on the same page about sin itself and the nature of sin?

I am amazed

I am amazed on the outpouring of bitterness and hatred this week. There have been two new trolls on my blog, a few dissenting voices and another venomous troll at a friend's blog -- all because I have dared to say that a gay person deserves membership in the church. I am amazed at the reactions of people who are not Methodist who are willing to jump in and point fingers at us and say "So HERE'S your loving and inclusive nature."

My reaction was pretty viceral -- I don't know if I want to be a part of a denomination that excludes membership of ANYBODY. The only questions I need to ask a potential member are in our Hymnal -- starting with asking is the person believes in Jesus Christ and ends with "Will you support this church with your prayer, presence, gifts and service?" Nothing in there about sexual orientation or anything like it -- except the renouncing sin. I did that when I joined the Church Universal -- yet I continue to sin. Am I to be thrown out or denied membership because of it?

There have been people who where allowed in our local church about whom I didn't have to make the decision. Primarily young couples, planning to marry, who were at the time living together. I'm glad I didn't have to make that call -- but I don't think I would deny them membership. I don't know. I guess one day I'll have to do that -- decide that is.

And I come back to two thoughts. First, Jesus' only prayer for his disciples is in John -- and it is a prayer of unity. He prayed that we would be as one (John 17: 11 -- I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.). Second, from 1 John 4:7-8 "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

Jesus want us to be as one -- and we do it through His love. Period. That's all folks. Unity in Love. Why is it so hard?

Friday, November 04, 2005

From the UMNS

The Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, a council member, said in a dissent that the decision “compromises the historic understanding that the church is open to all. The Judicial Council cannot interpret something that is not stated in the Discipline . Nothing in the Discipline gives pastors discretion to exclude persons presenting themselves for membership in the church.” Council members Beth Capen and Jon R. Gray also filed their intent to write dissenting opinions to Decision 1032.

Woo Hoo! You go Susan! Yeah!

and also
At the oral hearing, Kammerer said the language of the Discipline stresses that “all people” can become professing members in the connection. “The emphasis in our Constitution is on inclusiveness, not exclusiveness,” Kammerer said. “I believe the Book of Discipline requires membership for this gay man. Rev. Johnson singled out one sinful behavior. Offering only participation in church amounts to second-class citizenship.”

“What will this mean,” she asked, “for the hundreds and hundreds of pastors, hundreds and hundreds of churches, who have already accepted gay persons into membership? We should err on the side of grace.”


Woo Hoo Bishop Charlene! You go girl!

Update:
I am getting hotter and hotter under the collar. If we can deny a person membership in the church (denying them a form of grace) because they are sinners and continue in sin, then the churches are going to be pretty dern empty. I better think about it; after all I'm a sinner and I continue in sin. If we are only letting in people who aren't sinners, then the Methdoist church is going to be empty....

Morning Prayer

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

All praise to Thee, Who safe has kept
And hast refreshed me while I slept
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake
I may of endless light partake.

-- "Awake my Soul and with the Sun", Thomas Ken, 1674

Save me, O God,
for the waters have risen up to my neck.
I am sinking in deep mire,
and there is no firm ground for my feet.
I have come into deep waters,
and the torrent washes over me.
I have grown weary with my crying;
my throat is inflamed;
my eyes have failed from looking for my God.
Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head;
my lying foes who would destroy me are mighty.
Must I then give back what I never stole?
--Psalm 69:1-5

And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
"Great and amazing are your deeds,
Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations!
Lord, who will not fear
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your judgments have been revealed."
--Rev 15:3-4

God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you.

Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We commend to your loving care my child. Relieve her pain, guard her from all danger, restore to her your gifts of gladness and strength, and raise my child up to a life of service to you. Hear us, we pray, for you dear Name's sake.

Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

All prayers today are from the prayerbook and not original. I'm out of words, and am praying the words of the saints that go before me. And so a final word:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
--Hebrews 12 :1-3

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Morning Prayer

Jesus, grant that balm and healing
In Thy holy wounds I find,
Every hour that I am feeling,
Pains of body and of mind.
Should some evil thought within
Tempt my treacherous heart to sin,
Show the peril, and from sinning
Keep me ere its first beginning.


What this day will bring to pass,
gladness or sorrow we cannot guess.
You, who give the light divine,
shine on us, Christ Jesus, shine.

Then, when comes the dark of night,
all with in us still shall be bright;
you will bring your peace and love,
radient gifts sent down from above.


Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Alleluia! The Lord is glorious in his saints: Come let us adore him. Alleluia!

Save us, your people, Lord, and bless us with your inheritance;
Govern and rule us, comfort and uphold us, now and always.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Day by day we bless your name, your name that saves us;
We sing praises to your name for ever and ever.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, keep us from all sin today;
protects us from the evil in this world
Protect us from ourselves
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love, grace, justice and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope;
And we shall never hope in vain.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Witch!

GOOD NEW CAUCUS: A lesbian! A lesbian! A lesbian! We've got a lesbian! A lesbian!
CONSERVATIVE #1: We have found a lesbian, might we burn her?
GOOD NEWS: Burn her! Burn!
SYMONETTE: How do you know she is a lesbian?
CONSERVATIVE #2: She looks like one.
SYMONETTE: Bring her forward.
STROUD: I'm not evil! I'm not evil!
SYMONETTE: But you are dressed as one.
STROUD: They dressed me up like this.
GOOD NEWS: No, we didn't -- no.
STROUD: And this isn't my nose, it's a false one.
SYMONETTE: Well?
CONSERVATIVE #1: Well, we did do the nose.
SYMONETTE: The nose?
CONSERVATIVE #1: And the hat and the Birkenstocks-- but she is a lesbian!
GOOD NEWS: Burn her! Lesbian! Lesbian! Burn her!
SYMONETTE: Did you dress her up like this?
GOOD NEWS: No, no... no ... yes. Yes, a bit, a bit.
CONSERVATIVE #1: She has got Birkenstocks!
SYMONETTE: What makes you think she is a lesbian?
CONSERVATIVE #3: Well, she tried turning me into a liberal. She tried making me inclusive!
SYMONETTE: A liberal?
CONSERVATIVE #3: I got better.
CONSERVATIVE #2: Burn her anyway!
GOOD NEWS: Burn! Burn her!
SYMONETTE: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a lesbian.
GOOD NEWS: Are there? What are they? Do they hurt?
SYMONETTE: Tell me, what do you do with lesbians?
CONSERVATIVE #2: Burn! Defrock!
GOOD NEWS: Burn, burn them up! Defrock!
SYMONETTE: And what do you defrock and burn apart from lesbians?
CONSERVATIVE #1: More lesbians!
CONSERVATIVE #2: Wood!
SYMONETTE: So, why do lesbians burn?
[pause]
CONSERVATIVE #3: B 'cause they're made of wood...?
SYMONETTE: Good!
GOOD NEWS: Oh yeah, yeah...
SYMONETTE: So, how do we tell whether she, is made, of wood?
CONSERVATIVE #1: Build a bridge out of her.
SYMONETTE: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
CONSERVATIVE #2: Oh, yeah
SYMONETTE: Does wood sink in water?
CONSERVATIVE #1: No, no.
CONSERVATIVE #2: It floats! It floats!
CONSERVATIVE #1: Throw her into the pond!
GOOD NEWS: The pond!
SYMONETTE: What also floats in water?
CONSERVATIVE #1: Bread!
CONSERVATIVE #2: Apples!
CONSERVATIVE #3: Very small rocks!
CONSERVATIVE #1: Cider!
CONSERVATIVE #2: Great gravy!
CONSERVATIVE #1: Cherries!
CONSERVATIVE #2: Mud!
CONSERVATIVE #3: Churches -- churches! Churches float!
CONSERVATIVE #2: Lead -- lead!
UMC: A duck.
GOOD NEWS: Oooh.

Thanks to Gavin for the artistic inspiration.

For All the Saints...

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Thou hast thy daily bread now; the clothes that are on thy back shelter thee from the cold; thou goest to thy house, and thou hast comforts and mercies there, but like the swine which feed beneath the oak forgetful of the green bough which yields the acorn, or like the brute which is content to eat the grass, but never thanks the sun or the cloud which nourished the pasture, so thou livest in this world, forgetful of the God who made thee, in whom thou livest, and movest, and hast thy being...
My dear hearers, many of you have something more than the common mercies of God, you have his Word, Sabbath after Sabbath, preached in your ears. I may say truthfully concerning you who attend this house of prayer, that you hear one who, when he fails for want of power, fails not for want of will to do you good; one who has not shunned to warn you, and to preach in all simplicity the whole counsel of God, so far as he has been taught it by the Holy Spirit.

--A Sermon, (No. 432), Delivered on Thursday Evening, January 30th, 1862, by C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Yuck!

Yuck! In fact, Super Yuck!

Morning Prayer

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

-- Psalm 130 (KJV)

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[j] who[k] have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

-- Romans 8:26-30 (NIV)

Lord, out of the depths I do indeed cry to you. The depths of my own despair, the depths of anxiety, for I am indeed drowned. Yet I know that you can dry up the seas and make the depths of the sea the way for Your redeemed to cross over to You. You can dry up the great waters of the deep, still the movements found in chaos and disorder, and make them whole, redeemed and a bridge. I am today De Produndis -- in the deep waters of chaos. God, hear my voice and listen to my prayer. Hear my cry and answer me.

Lord, out of the depths I do indeed cry to you. And I know of your forgivness, I know of your chesed -- Your loving kindness. I recite the Psalms and keep your Words upon my lips and await the coolness of Your hand on my fevered soul -- the sweetness of Your presence -- I await for You. My soul waits for You more than they who watch for the morning -- yes, more than they who watch for the morning. I remember your steadfast love and your grace and I wait for You -- and I long for Your presence.

God I know that with you there is hope -- because of your past faithfulness and with your love that passes all human understanding. With You, there is great power to redeem and I know that you will redeem us from all our inquities.

Forgive my sin -- forgive my sharp tongue and short temper. Forgive my alienation from you and from my friends. I pray that You will help me calm and still my soul, like a child with her mother, like a child being rocked in the arms by a heavenly parent. Help me to avoid all ambition and pride -- help me to appear before you with humility, love, devotion and pure and simple trust. Hear my prayers, Lord. And in Your mercy, grant them. Amen.