Monday, March 31, 2008

Morning Bible Story

Matt: This morning we're reading about Daniel in the Lion's Den. (We're going in order, through the Old Testament.)
E: Oh Good, that's my favorite.
A: And there's lions.
Matt: Right. Now King Darius,
Me walking through in an unpleasant (should I say 'hostile' morning stupor: Its Darius.
M: King Darius made a decree that everyone needed to worship and pray to ....(reads the story).... What do you think? If you were Daniel, would you go and pray in your open window or worship the king?
E: I would pray to Jesus.
A: Me too.
Matt: What if God chose not to close the mouths of the lions?
E: I would still pray to Jesus.
Matt: What about you A?
A (scornfully): No. I don't want to be eaten by lions.
E: That's why the man is coming to take our house and church. Because we were worshiping Jesus?
Matt: More or less, but Jesus always provides for us, even when we have to suffer.
E: I know.

Not Wanting to Go to Bed

Rowan is miserably sick. As I mentioned before, he caught the throwing up bug and feels extremely ill used and unhappy. To comfort himself, this morning, after being dressed and having refused breakfast, he dug The Bee costume out of a pile of clean laundry and requested to be shoved therein ("peas. Peas."). He then wore this Bee All Day, even and until working up the strength to plow through a bowl of ice cream this evening.

"I feel sick," said Emma, on seeing the ice cream. "My throat, no, my tummy, actually, my throat feels like I need to throw up."
"Well, then you better put on your pj's and go to bed," said Matt.
"Oh," said Emma, disappointed. "Well, I need all these books tonight."
"Pick One," said I.

Excellent Sermon by My Esteemed Father

Easter 2 (March 30, 2008)
Good Shepherd Anglican Church, Binghamton, NY
Robert Carlson

Acts 20.19-31

Let us pray.

Lord God, we are seeking you while you can be found. We are calling upon you while you are near. We are turning to you, so that you will have mercy on us and pardon us. May the word that goes out from your mouth not return to you empty, but may it accomplish that which you purpose, and succeed in the thing for which you sent it, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

When St. Thomas replied to his fellow-disciples, “Unless I see,… I will not believe,” he was just being a typical human. We have a saying in English, “Seeing is believing”, that pretty well sums up the way we humans are oriented in the world. From a psychological point of view, sight is by far the most important of our senses for getting information about the world. In this we differ from other species. A dog, for example, might say, “Smelling is believing.” A bat would say, “Hearing is believing.” But we humans are very dependent on our eyes. We tend to believe our eyes more readily than our other senses.

The bias towards sight is not something peculiar to our culture or civilization. You can’t get too much different from Americans than the Supyire people of Mali, where Joyce and I worked for many years and where Anne grew up. The Supyire say:

Saying what has been seen is better than saying what has been heard.

We all have a bias toward believing an eye-witness more than any other type of witness.

John in his gospel is very concerned with the connection between seeing and believing. A careful reading of the whole book shows that the connection between seeing and believing is not just straightforward and simple. In fact, we might turn our proverb upside down and be nearer the truth: it’s not so much that seeing is believing, as that believing is seeing.

Neuropsychologists used to think that visual information was processed in just one place in the brain. Now however it is known that visual information is processed in more than 2 dozen different brain areas. What appears to us as a straightforward rendition of the visual world is actually the result of incredibly complex computation. One brain area does edges and lines, another does surfaces and textures, yet another does motion, and so forth.

Moreover, our eyes and brains are physically designed to see some things and not others. For example, we see some wavelengths of light and not others. We often don’t see things in our visual field that we are not paying attention to. A few years ago a psychologist carried out an interesting experiment in which people were shown a video of a basketball game and told to pay attention to the ball because they would later have to say how many times the ball had been passed. In the video, a man in a gorilla suit comes onto the court and performs a little dance and then goes off again, in a different part of the court from where the ball is. Most of the people who watched the video did not even see the man in the gorilla suit. Although the retinas of their eyes must have registered the image, their brains simply didn’t process the information.

What we see is also partly a matter of what our society trains us to pay attention to. There is a Supyire proverb which says,

A stranger’s eyes are wide open, but he doesn’t see.

In a foreign country, you might be staring at a scene but miss significant things about it. For example, if I give someone something like this [with left hand], you might think nothing of it, but a Supyire person would be shocked. It is insulting to give something with one’s left hand. Most Americans wouldn’t even notice what hand something is given with.

We can say that a very general principle is that what you see is at least partly a matter of what is already in your head. When we open our eyes, it seems to us like we effortlessly see what is out there in front of us. In fact, though, there is a huge amount of mental processing going on “behind the scenes” that delivers the apparently effortless view of the world. And much of what we see we have had to learn how to see.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I can believe that”? Or: “I just can’t believe that” ? What do we mean when we say things like that? Could it be that believability is not just an objective property of some statement “out there”, but also depends on something inside us, just like sight does?

You may or may not be surprised to know that a lot of biblical scholars these days do not believe the Bible is true. In some universities and seminaries, skepticism is pretty much the default position. There is a disposition to not believe rather than to believe. The argument hiding behind a lot of the overt argumentation is just, “I can’t believe Jesus would say that”.

This reminds me of Alice’s conversation with the White Queen in Through the Looking Glass. The Queen said, “‘Now I’ll give you something to believe. I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.’

‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’”

It’s not just Alice and modern scholars who find they can’t believe. There were actually many people who heard and saw Jesus during his earthly ministry who couldn’t believe. In fact, that is one of the central problems that John addresses in his gospel. How could it be that when God sent the long-awaited Messiah, people didn’t recognize who he was? The problem is stated quite clearly right in chapter one: “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.”

All through the gospel, in almost every story John tells, of the people who are around Jesus, some believe and others don’t, although they see and hear the same things. In chapter 12, John remarks, “Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him.” Not everyone was able to say, “My Lord and my God!”

Probably most of us have friends or family members who can’t believe, yet they may have heard and seen the same things we have. My older brother and I grew up together. We both had the same teaching at home and attended the same boarding school—yet he doesn’t believe any of the Christian teaching we received as children, while I do. How can we explain this?

Believing is not just a matter of reacting to what is “out there”, objectively in the world. In order to believe, there has to be something inside us.

John is very clear on this. Listen to what he says in chapter 6: “Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day.’”

Some of those there that day were able to believe that Jesus was the bread of heaven. Others were not able to believe. And the difference was not a difference about the fact to be believed—it was a difference made by God within the minds of those who were there.

The reason you can believe is because God has graciously done something inside you that makes it possible for you to see what you otherwise would not be able to see. It was by God’s grace that Thomas, when he saw Jesus, was able to exclaim, “My Lord and my God!” And note what Jesus says, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” That’s us. We are “blessed”. That means that our believing is a gift from God.

There are several lessons we should draw from this.

The first is gratitude. If we can believe, it is because God enables us to believe—because the Father draws us.

Second, humility. We can believe, not because we are better or more clever than those who do not believe, but purely because of God’s grace.

Third, hope. Since the ability to believe comes from God, we must not stop praying for our friends and family members who do not yet believe. Nothing is hopeless when God is involved. God is both the author and finisher of our faith.

Fourth, action. God does not fiddle with our heads to turn us into robots that have no choice but to believe. Believing is something that we do in response to God’s drawing us. Believing is cooperating with God. Believing is dynamic. There is another Supyire proverb that goes like this:

If the donkey hasn’t thrown you down, you don’t see his ears.

The donkey’s ears, which you could have grabbed onto in order to keep your seat, don’t become “visible” until it is too late and you have been thrown to the ground. Next time you get on that cantankerous donkey, though, you will clearly see his ears.

Today you can see things that you couldn’t see yesterday. Thomas went from not believing to believing. And so can we. If your trust in Jesus is alive, it will grow. The White Queen was right: believing takes practice. I won’t say that believing impossible things before breakfast is the way to go, but I will say that if you stick close to the risen Lord, you will find yourself believing more and more.

Let us pray.

Lord God, we believe that Jesus is our Lord and our God. Thank you for drawing us to him, although we didn’t deserve it. Increase in us the faith and trust that please you, and help us to believe more and more. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Round Up

My dear Parent es are in town as of this morning (Come hear Dr. Robert Carlson preach and do Sunday School at Church of the Good Shepherd tomorrow! If you're in Binghamton.) And Rowan has the throwing up bug. And I've got to do the bulletin.

So I don't have time to be amazing. However, I offer you all the reading I did just now in procrastinating from doing the bulletin.

A Great Post for all of you who loving having babies and love people that have them.

The Latest Installment on the Value and Gifts of the Internets, as well as its Lackings.

And A Really Great Rant-So Worth It.

And, for a nice little lead into Sunday
Noni (in a general way): What would you feed Jesus if he came to dinner?
Me: Well, probably a nice light quiche and a beautiful salad. And a chocolate cloud cake.
E: Whatever he asked of me.
Me: Oh yeah, that.

Which leads me to my Great Announcement.
I hope all of you in the Binghamton Area will come to Good Shepherd NEXT Saturday, April 5th, at 4 (or 5, the latest) in the afternoon, to see The Reverend Matthew M. Kennedy Face Off Against The Reverend Anne E C Kennedy in the First Ever
Iron Shepherd
Two cooks battling out in the Church Kitchen using whatever secret ingredient will be provided unto them. May God frustrate mine enemies.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What I've Really been Obsessing About

Now that Greg has so graciously linked me from Stand Firm I know that I ought to be writing all about Anglicanism and all the dysfunction inherent therein. However, I'm really totally preoccupied, just at the moment, with getting this baby to sleep through the night.

The Time has Definitely Arrived. She weighs probably 12 or 13 pounds, she's 5 months, she's porking down baby rice cereal twice a day with delight and greed, And, when she forgets, she can sleep for like 7 hours at a time. So there is absolutely no cause for her to wake up at 2 in the morning and then 3 in the morning and then 4 in the morning for a little snack and a giggle.

I realize, in retrospect, and from reading around the web, that I do what appears to be called 'attachment parenting'. I believe this means that you nurse your baby (on demand), sleep with your baby, wear your baby

woops, wrong baby,
and generally become utterly attached to your baby.

I've done this by default all four times, not knowing there was a special term for it, because I really like them when they're babies and I wan to be with them all the time (isn't that the point? or am I missing something, Matt, you can chime in here if you'd like).

But at some point you wake up and find you have a hulking baby attached to you on every possible level and discover that they could have been sleeping through the night for weeks, but just didn't feel like it, and so the awful process begins.

Monday we started putting her in her proper bed for naps and letting her scream it out in the day time. And then two nights ago I slept on the nursery floor for a couple of hours, sticking her plug (by which I mean pacifier) in her mouth every few minutes hoping to convey the message that I really meant it, she had to sleep. Of course, of course, she wildly lost her temper, coming unglued and screaming for the whole night. BUT, last night, she didn't wake up at all. And, when I put her down last night, I heard her cooing exstatically to whatever it was in her room that she liked best.
Maybe this

or this

or these sheep

I put my money down that by the end of the weekend we will have made this important transition and will move on to the next stage for some other child. And, with the added sleep, we might have all kinds of interesting things to say about Anglicanism in America Today.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Your Purpose May Only Be to Serve as a Warning to Others

I've been trying to blog All Day. But instead of blogging I let Matt have my computer cord and made bread and Cream of Cauliflower Soup and Curried Chicken Vegetable Soup (well worth it).

And contemplated quietly the warning of King Asa.
Having started out so well, having called upon the name of the Lord in the time of need and been delivered, having sought obedience and truth, to the point of getting rid of his own mother, at some point, for whatever reason, he chucked it all. When the next enemy came up before him he didn't call on God, he sent off for help from Ben-hadad, and when God gave him the opportunity to repent he seriously hardened his heart into anger, locked up that opportunity and "inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time." (1 Chron 16:10)

Its such an interestingly haunting thought, especially as nothing more is said.
Asa 'sleeps with his fathers' and seems to undergo some interesting pagan burning thing (don't have time to read up just this second).

I've been perplexed, as the days roll by, by the increasing hardening and chaos of the leadership of the Episcopal Church. Looking in from the outside (praise be), it appears to be so irrational, particularly the actions of the Presiding Bishop (ie deposing people without bothering to do the leg work to accomplish that purpose, or writing about global warming for Easter). But all behavior, on some level, is rational, in that it is intended towards a particular goal (usually one's own good), and that it comes from somewhere. Theoretically, it should be possible to understand human behavior by searching out these two-the goal and the origin. I am finding, however, that I have more and more to pursue the Holy Scriptures in trying to understand the behavior of those leading this 'church'. And so much comes down to the Providence, Sovereignty and Omniscience of God. For his own purposes he hardens hearts. For his own purposes he saves some. For his own purposes he intervenes in human affairs.

And for me it continues to prove that Real Rationality can only be found in orthodox Christianity. If you want to be a sensible, rational, thinking person you ought to seek out God on his own terms which means, essentially, being a Christian, a Real Christian. Not that you can't think and be rational in other systems, but you will always end up in the wrong place, having to reconcile contradictions or living into 'the tension'. And the result of living into the 'tension' is a hard heart and some sort of weird pagan thing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Little Something

A long while ago (actually around Christmas) when I was trying to make Christmas presents. I got going on this and couldn't stop, not really where it was headed. I gave it away as a present but I managed to catch some pictures at the last moment.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Monday or The Morning After

We're all lying back in a relieved stupor. The whole week came off remarkably well. I started, on Friday, to post the Stations of the Cross but ran out of time as the service encroached upon me. And I wasn't able to do it Saturday due to trying to write a sermon. And then, of course, Sunday we just went to church and then cooked all afternoon. Three things, however, stand out about the whole week.

First, All the services were well attended and ran smoothly and beautifully, even like a well oiled machine, The Vigil especially. We practiced both Thursday afternoon and Saturday evening and practiced until we seriously got it right. So much is about timing and movement. And taking the time to have ushers, sub deacon, acolytes, fire pot remover, celebrant, deacon, everybody in concert and knowledgeable makes an incredible difference.

Second, G took this week to start working on her teeth in a painful and unhappy way, and she was at many moments inconsolable. I held her, carried her on my back, took her back from nice people who were trying to get her to stop crying, rubbed her gums, did everything, in short, that I could think of, but her march towards the suffering of the cross was unstoppable. I left off being on the altar to be with her several times and had to fight to concentrate over all. Poor Baby. It was an enormous relief when she slept soundly Saturday Night and was bright and cheery on Sunday.

Third, to the joyous degree that the Vigil and Easter were a fantastic success, Good Friday was a serious spiritual low. I started a cold in the head to match the teething of G thus loosing momentum, falling off schedule and frustrating myself. As I was getting bogged down and unhappy, I lost track of the sermon I was writing in my head. I lost the piece of paper with all the vigil music on it. And finally, because the kids needed to go home for supper, I ran home and found an ugly letter from our former bishop waiting for us, to lift our spirits, as it were, on the day our Lord suffered and died. I read the letter and went straight back to church to find that the Passion movie had run into a glitch and wouldn't play on any farther than the Scourging Scene, so all the people who had come to watch it got to see Jesus suffer but not die, and certainly not rise. Instead the group sat around and discussed the letter. To top off the suffering of the world I made up four packets of microwavable hamburger helper to feed various hungry people, and then got into a tangle about how many readers we needed for the service. The service went off beautifully, though. Each writer/artist read their own station when we got to it (except E and A who were home partying with their beloved baby sitter) and the whole mood was beautifully prayerful. I went home, though, in sorrow, frustration and a stuffy head and reworked my schedule.

So now we are going to go do something fun with all our kiddos. On the way home from church yesterday A announced (mind you, Before the visiting of the Easter Bunny with laden Easter Baskets and the Hunting of Easter Eggs), 'This was a really fun Easter.'
'Yeah' said E (who had shadowed me all day, to the point of being put in a red acolyte robe and coming onto the altar to sit with me and see what was going on), 'its so nice that Jesus rose again'.
'What do you think?' said Matt, 'Did he rise again in his body, or as a ghost.'
'In his Body,' said E.
'Yeah,' said A, 'and the Easter Bunny is going to come and hide eggs.'
Alleluia. He is Risen.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Curried Lentils a la Crock Pot

1/2 sweet potato finely diced
1 onion
1 clove garlic
4 diced tomatoes
3 or 4 cups stock
1 bag lentils (we're using pretty orange colored ones)
1 Table Spoon Curry Powder (unless you know how to curry things from scratch like Matt does)
salt, pepper
low for 3 or 4 hours, stirred occasionally because mine gets really hot and burns, even on low, if I'm not carefully
Sometimes I add lots of vegetables (green pepper, carrots, celery, anything) but not tonight because I don't want to freak everyone out.

Family Fun Day

E and A decided to come into church with me today (along with the baby) leaving Matt to the mercy of R at home.

A carefully choose a brownish tie, his bright Easter vest from last year, a white collared shirt with slightly too short sleeves, a pair of pants well stained with paint and his church shoes to wear. E came in her pjs and had to be shoved into clothes after Morning Prayer because of being very slow. I got all dressed up and then flung tea all over myself on the way out the door.

We're all settled comfortably and messily into the office, cutting up bits of paper and taping them to the wall, spraying poster board with gold paint (for the Stations), and trying to remember what was decided about music for the service tonight, and screaming about our teeth (well, just the baby is screaming, the rest of us are listening to some opera or another very loudly).

In a little bit we will clatter downstairs and dig through the cupboards looking for lunch. And irritate everyone by having opinions about how the tables should be set up for the potluck tonight. Obviously what Jesus meant about 'preparing' for the passover feast.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday in Holy Week

Well, I think my big noise for Tennebrae came off brilliantly. I threw 8 Cookie Sheets down the back steps and fairly jumped myself. Such a relief. For some reason not vouchsafed to me I always get really nervous before Tennebrae. Well, and before the Vigil Fire Pot. Maybe because its really good if you get it right, and laughable when you get it wrong. And laughing is not the result we are trying to achieve.

I'm thinking for the potluck tomorrow of Curried Lentils done in my Crock Pot. With a big vat of rice.

And then Friday we're going to decorate Easter Eggs. Kind of a bad moment liturgically but whatever. Aedan informed us that two different Easter Bunnies came to his school, one on Tuesday and one today. Both days overladen with candy. That, as we all know, says Matt every year, is why Jesus died on the cross. So that you could receive a vat of candy from the Easter Bunny.

Good Night!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Babies in Stereo

Neither baby slept last night. I actually think they're both teething. (If this is your first time reading this blog, I don't actually have two babies. I have one baby, a toddler, a preschooler and a kindergartner. But we count the toddler as a baby because he still acts like one.) Stupidly, of course, I stayed up till midnight waiting for the baby to go to sleep and watching hours and hours of Andy Griffith (so funny! never really watched it before.) I gave up tv for lent and so naturally that includes binging on Sundays.

Why am I telling you this? Because I'm tired and sitting in front of the computer and so naturally that means just writing down whatever comes into my head. But instead of continuing on in this unhelpful vain, I'm going to put this down and seriously walk up the hill behind our house. I am happy to report, as per my New Year's Resolutions, that I have so far lost the weight of one baby and am now seriously working on the weight of the second one. And why are you reading this anyway? This is Holy Week. You should be reading your Bible. And praying. Heh.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stations of the Cross

So, I've never really been all that enthusiastic about the Stations of the Cross. We really only do them once a year on Good Friday after we've done everything else we can possibly do. This is largely due to a lack of a good version. We have a smattering of little booklets with varying strange rhymes and bad writing.

This year I had enough. I didn't throw the booklets away but I hid them carefully and effectively and spent three Sundays putting all my atrium kids to work. I had them each pick one station and read the Scriptures concerning it and pray (that was Sunday One). Then they had to illustrate it (Sunday Two) and finally rewrite the station in their own words (Sunday Three).

Numbering on my To Do List this week will be to make a nice little book of all their writings, and the mounting of all their work on little poster boards to hang under each station. I hope also (God willing and the creek don't rise) to take pictures of each station.

I was really delighted at how seriously everyone took this project. I've got a folder full of lovely things to hang and type up. And I think it will be a lot more meaningful to walk the stations having invested so much in them. Hopefully pictures forth coming.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Measured Out

It has been well speculated, around the web, that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church cannot reasonably be called a 'Christian'. Besides at the very least embracing and propogating these heresies, she doesn't seem to be able to affirm the most basic of Christian doctrine and teaching on the Church's Holiest Day.

But lots of Christians are muddled, harboring quiet heresy (often unintentionally) or being confused about the importance of the feast we happen to be celebrating. I am discipling someone right now who is clearly Christian but who still cherishes a lot of crazy ideas. What's the difference?

Well, this Friday I happened to read Luke 6:20-42. One difference is under the very nose of every lovely liberal who cries out for the Spiritual Proof of Spiritual Fruit. Christians are known not only by their beliefs but by their lives and even more by the quality, content and capacity of their forgiving. For every person who waves a 'Meet Gene' flag, I wave a 'Meet Katherine Jeffords Schori' flag. So far from acting (whatever she may feel) in love towards her 'enemies' she is going out of her way to hurt, humiliate and persecute them.

I am constantly impressed and delighted and encouraged to see the power of Forgiveness in the lives of new believers. It is a power beyond them (and me too). We've had whole family circles and systems come into the church, group by group, and have to forgive each other of immense wrongs, immense sin, immense heartache. I have looked at stituations that seem completely dead and wrecked, situations that are so beyond human hope that if it was me, I would probably forget God and despair. But these new Christians, fresh in the astounding forgivenes and power of God, square off their jaws, make the decision, and forgive. So much that sworn enemies now sit together, pew by pew, in God's church.

If KJS imagines herself persecuted and set upon by all bad things, even with an empoverished view of the Holy Scriptures (am I wrong, doesn't Luke 6 show up in the Lectionary?) her behavior towards her 'enemies' shouts like a megaphone.

As for me, I pray for mercy. A good measure of mercy, pressed down, shaken together, running over into my lap.

Best Laid Plans for Holy Week

I'm doing a little Saturday strategerizing in advance of Holy Week. Generally we just pitch through the week on a serious adrenalin high, crashing completely and totally on Easter Monday. I fully expect that will happen again this year, but I hope to make some small changes. First of all, this is the first Holy Week in a while that I haven't been pregnant. Second of all, I made a point of remembering from last year what needed to be changed (the version of psalms for Tennebrae, the version of the Stations, the fire hot pads with which to remove the fire pot at the Vigil, etc.).

So here's my plan.
Monday: Take the day off. Completely. Shop for Easter Feast and chocolate. Take Nap.
Tuesday: Put E on the Bus. Put Supper in the Crock Pot. Go to church. Do up bulletins. Clean the Office.
Wednesday: Put E on the Bus. Put Supper in the Crock Pot. Go to church. Print all the bulletins. Find the Fire Pot. Call EVERYONE to remind them that its Holy Week and they should come to church.
Thursday: Put E on the bus. Make something (any ideas?) for the potluck. Catch up on the house. Gather all the children and go to church for the afternoon/evening.
Friday: Put something in the crock pot. Pack all the children off to church for the day. Bring them all home for the evening. Read the Bible. Write a sermon for the vigil. (actually, let me just move that one to Tuesday)
Saturday: Sleep in. Practice acolytes for the Vigil. Dig out Empty Tomb for the atrium.

In other words, I plan for us actually eat dinner together every night, before going to church. We have a baby sitter every night so they won't be exhausted and this way (along with our morning Bible Stories) I shouldn't miss them too much. And, by being at church as much as possible, the house should not be as wrecked, and, I shouldn't be printing everything at the last minute. That's the plan.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Healing Service Tonight

Just want to remind all you who live in Binghamton about the Healing Service tonight with Fr. Nigel Mumford from Albany. The service is tonight at 7pm and the workshop tomorrow starts at 10. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Long Day

I took E visiting with me today. She carried my communion box and set everything out and piously folded her hands in prayer. I would say even a little condescendingly.

So its been a full complete day of pastoral care and discipleship all over the place. And even a trip to Salvation Army.

Person I was with: How much for this chair? Its for the church.
Salvation Army Guy: A church? Really? What church?
PIWW: Church of the Good Shepherd.
SAG: 10 dollars. If its really for the church.
PIWW: Cool. Great. You're going to heaven. Well, maybe you are. I don't know.
Me: Thank you so much, Sir, God bless. (to myself: hahahah. Oh dear.)

So now I'm crashing into bed because tomorrow there's a healing service to grapple, and some more visits and Sunday's bulletin and all the bulletins for Holy Week, and a Pie, because my oldest, most pious child requires a pie. And a lot of new fancy Easter clothes to try on. I just want it known, for sure for sure, that E picked her own Easter dress this year with no reference to me whatsoever.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Too Much Time on my Hands and A Request

I know everyone has already been so articulate about the Presiding Bishop's "Easter" Message. Poor Lady. Its hard not to be brilliant with such fodder (heh). I said to myself, on my computer binge reading about Spitzer and Schori and the deposition of Schofield and Cox, 'boy, things are really getting bad'. But I think that is a wrong estimation. Things have been bad, for as long as the world has been making its own way. Its not like politicians before were so moral and upright and good. And the church has always been full of shallow 'theologians', 'bishops', 'clergy' diludedly thinking their own agenda is God's agenda. It may be that things are getting bad or worse, but they were never that good.

And that is why I request, when we Anglicans in America start the work of making a better Prayer Book than the '79 one (which I assume we'll be doing, and if we're not, I move that we do), that we return the line 'and there is no health in us' to the Confession. The 'devices and desires of our own hearts' is a good way of beginning, but it really doesn't go far enough.

And I request this even in light of possibly inviting snarky comments about Calvinism and self loathing etc. If only, if only Mr. Spitzer had loathed himself a little more, had denied himself something. If only Mrs. Schori (that's right, I said Mrs.) had a little more loathing for herself and a little less loathing for the Bible, she might not be wrecking her way through the church in its holiest season. Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross so that she could sit at her computer for 3 minutes and write whatever came first into her head. That's what blogging is for.

(I tried to add links but my computer is being super annoying. Also, I'm lying on the couch with the flu, so this may not actually make the sense that I intend.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Evening is at Hand

(It'll help if you have nice new crisp copy of National Review in Hand and turn the pages as we go.)
E: Can we read?
Me: Sure. Let's see, here, read this.
E: The W e ee k, Week. The Week.
A: What's a week? Is it that guy?
Me: No. That's the Prince of Wales.
Inordinate Laughter.
A: That's funny.
Me: Ok, read this.
E: M an, Man. O F, of. Thuck.
Me: Thought.
E: Oh, Man of Thought. M an, Man. O F, of. Act.
Me: Action.
E: Man of Thought. Man of Action. That's crazy. Ok, this one. Do you knuck.
Me: Know.
E: Do you know the
Me: this
E: Do you now this Wo M An, woman?
Inordinate Laughter.
A: I don't know her. She's pretty.
Me: Yes she is. Very (turns out its someone or other Clare Boothe and we should know about her but we don't so we obviously all have work to do.) Me, ok, just one more.
E: Two More.
Me: Ok.
E: My O Ld, Old. M AN Man. and the Suck.
Me: Sea.
E: Oh. My Old Man and the Sea. He's not old.
Me: Not in this picture.
E: Is he ok? Is he going to make it back to the boat?
A: He's a pirate.
Me: He makes it back fine. That's his boat. He's not a pirate.
E: Is he the president?
Me: No, he's William F. Buckley.
A: Buckley, heh. That's funny.
E: I'm going to be president. I'm going to be 100 Things.
Me: Ok.
E: Ok, this one. The. B ent, Bent. P In, Pin. The Bent Pin.
Inordinate laughter.
A: Pins can't Bend.
Me: This one can. Bed Time At Last. Good Night.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sorry, More Politics. Can't Help It.

So, on the way home from my six week (heh, actually 4 month) post partum check up (wherein I was complimented many times over for my excellent blood pressure) I heard the news about Spitzer. And then I indulged myself in a little Lenten sin of watching the news about it all for an hour (well, maybe a little longer). And I have two thoughts.

First of all, his wife shouldn't have had to go out and stand there next to him while he talked even more about himself. I note that other people have already said this, and I agree. I don't think any woman should have to go prop up her politician husband in that manner unless she wants to. And this nice lady didn't look like she wanted to. Of course, she married him in the first place. She can't have been completely unaware of his character. Notwithstanding, I hope she wasn't pressured into this public display. If feminism has brought anything to public life (besides so many awful things) it should be that a woman doesn't have to stand next to an awful man at a press conference to make him look good. But apparently it hasn't.

And second, I want to note that I went out particularly to vote against Spitzer when I had the chance, and reveled in my vote and was glad to cast it and have been completely irritated with the New York electorate for the last year that has thrown itself at the feet of this poor pinched ambitious man, may God have mercy on him. I didn't think he'd succumb to this, but I didn't believe him principled in the way that apparently all the rest of New York did, may God have mercy on us all. But then, why am I surprised, we have Hillary Clinton and Chuck Shumer for Senators. Frankly, we deserve what we get.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Verse for the Day

My new favorite thing is the English Standard Version of the Psalms.
And today's verse is

Psalm 50:19-21
You give your mouth free reign for evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son. These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Saturday Bits

E: Mommy, know what?
Me: What?
E: When I grow up I wanna be a baby.
Me: That's discouraging.
A: And I want to be spiderman when I grow up.
Me: When I was little, I wanted to own and run a zoo when I grew up.
A: (disdainfully) Oh.
E: But instead you turned out to be a mommy.
A: And you're growing smaller. With each birthday you get littler.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


A: Mooooommmmyyyyy, can I have apples too?
Anne: You can go get an apple from the fridge. I can't get one for you right now.
A: But I want one peeled and cut.
Anne: I can't do that for you right now, I'm feeding the baby. You can either go get a whole apple or ask E to share hers.
A: Ahh. That's so boring. That makes me bored.
Meanwhile, R has gotten out of his chair and taken all of E's apples and gone to the living room to eat them by himself. Chaos Ensues.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I posted this earlier today but it disappeared so here it is again.

Matt and I are embattled in Monday Morning Negotiations. I’ve got my calendar out and I’m trying to get out of some stuff.
Me: I’ll visit M, B and P if you take R to his well baby shots on Friday.
Matt: Friday’s not good for me, I have to write a sermon.
Me: I’ll write the sermon too. (I’m willing to do almost anything to get out of taking R to his shots.)
Matt: Well, I wanted to preach.
Me: I’ll make bread today.
Matt: Ok.
Me: And if you’ll clean the house today I’ll call M, T and C.
Matt: Ok. (He’ll do lots to get out of making calls).
Me: Ok, so Wednesday, I’ll take A to school and then do the noon Eucharist and do visits. And then Friday you’ll take R, for sure.
Matt: Sure.
Me: And you won’t back out, at the last minute?
Matt: Sure.
Me: Did you hear what I just said?
Matt: Sure.
Me: Are you listening to the sound of the ocean?
Matt: Sure.
Me: So this conversation is over?
Matt: Hmm?
Me: Shots. Do you absolutely agree about the shots?
Matt: Yes, I’ll take him. No problem.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Recommended Listening

I want, this evening, to recommend Matt's sermon (the latest one in the podcast list, entitled 'Sex and the Gospel') and to ask for continued prayers for Good Shepherd. These are murky and muddy times in the Anglican Communion. But its us that makes them muddy and difficult, not God. In his perfect time, in his perfect will, all things will come together. In the meantime, we ask for grace to know only the next step, to have patience, to rejoice in all things.