Monday, October 29, 2007

The Prodigal Grandson

Things have been a little busy for the past couple of weeks and I haven't written anything. I just checked my archives and realize that I haven't written about our most exciting news. Our son's first marriage ended badly and his ex-wife got custody of their only child, Danny, named after me and born on my birthday. They lived in the Phoenix area 1200 miles from our little town in Eastern Oregon. We tried to keep contact; visiting him when we were in Phoenix, sending birthday and Christmas cards (often with gift cards enclosed). Our son moved to Dallas, Texas so we no longer visited Phoenix. Then the card we sent was returned with the inscription, "He doesn't live here." and just like that we lost track of our first grandchild. Ken still paid child support, but the payments went to the court, so he didn't have an address for him either. It really hurts to lose a grandchild, but after a while the pain subsided. Then, out of the blue, our son told us that his daughters had located Dan on the internet through "Facebook". And, surprise of surprises Ken called and said that he had talked with Dan and he lived only about 100 miles away. The next surprise was that Dan, who was now 21 had moved in with him. The lost boy was found after 12 years. We have talked with him on the phone and it is amazing how much he sounds like his father. We will see him at Thanksgiving when we fly to Arkansas. I find it hard to wait. I try to imagine what he looks like and have trouble equating the 9 year old in the last picture of him that we have with the young adult we will soon see. I may embarrass myself when we meet again, I will probably cry, an emotion that I have discovered nearer the surface as I age. They will be tears of joy, and I won't really be embarrassed. The one once lost has been found. We'll roast the fatted turkey.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Let's Worry About The Poor

I've had it. Up to here. I'm getting sick and tired of all the waffling and posturing about who is in communion with whom in the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury is sending mixed messages about what it takes to be in communion with the rest of the Anglican Communion, and in the meantime, people are dying of starvation every day. Not just a few, but hundreds of thousands of people die every day while we argue about whether the Episcopal Church should have openly gay bishops or a woman Presiding Bishop. Wake up folks! God's call is not to be in polity with Canterbury or Angola or Nigeria -- it is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and dying, and to love one another. Is it any wonder why The Episcopal Church and Northern Tier Anglican Churches are dwindling in numbers. People in the pews don't want to hear this crap and quite honestly neither do I. If we would just heed the call of Jesus to care for his sheep the whole world would be better off. So, Primates, take your miters and put them in a warm dark place and remember what being a Christian is all about. We have to love our brothers and sisters, gay, straight, bi, or what ever sexual tag you want to hang on them. Being a Christian is not being a bedroom police officer. Frankly, it's none of your business!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The End of an Era

We have decided to close the doors of our little church. It is a gut wrenching decision, but we have run out of money and people. Our building is a quaint little shingle and clapboard building built in 1910 or so. It has no insulation and just single paned windows. Even in mild winters the gas bill is over $100 a month and that is just for heating the church an hour each Sunday. The folks who come to our services are in no position to put much into the plate when it is placed on the altar. We have decided that whatever we have been spending in our efforts to keep the doors open could be better spent in one of the two Episcopal congregations within 20 miles of our small community. In 1910 it was necessary to have churches in each community because of travel time. Many people in the US spend more than 1/2 hour to get to church, so we will be in good company. We just returned from our Diocesan Convention where we gave the members of our convocation (Deanery)the news. They are small struggling churches as well as we, and they understood our decision and our pain. It ain't fun.

Harry's Partner -- NOT Jake

Well, I did it again, I was so caught up in the idea of Harry's school that I misstated the relationships. Harry's partner is Wayne, not Jake. Jake's partner is Demi not Harry. Jake just allows Harry to use his blog from time to time, apparently when Harry has something important to say. My apologies to all concerned. I still want to commend Harry's school to you no matter who his partner is. I am new to this blog stuff. I hope I have not trod too heavily on any toes.

I try to check Father Jake Stops the World every day. He has the most up to date information on the workings of PECUSA and if you read the comments you will usually get all sides of the issue. I think that is important, especially for those of us who live in the hinterlands.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Harry's School

For those of you who have never visited Father Jake's Blog "Father Jake Stops the World", I would like to recommend it to you. In his post last Friday, Jake turned the blog over to his partner Harry. Harry related his story of attending a clergy retreat which our Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori attended with her husband. Harry wrote a long detailed story about being at the meeting with Katherine and sharing a dinner table with her. To make a delightful story short, Harry asked Bishop Katherine what he should do. In effect he asked her for a charge. And she gave him one, She told him "build a school in Central Tanganyika". She was serious and so was Harry, so, it looks like Harry is going to do his best to see that a school is built in Tanganyika. I think it is a great idea, and I think it would be great if the blogosphere got together and raised the money to build the school. I know that the idea is still in its infancy, but if you're interested I suggest that you check out Father Jake Stops the World and read Harry's story and bookmark the site for further developments. You can find a link to Jake's blog under the links section on the right. I haven't written a comment on the blog itself, but I am ready to contribute something as soon as it gets organized. Here is a great way to do something for those less fortunate than ourselves. Atta boy Harry.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Working My Butt Off Redux

I was just looking over my old blogs and I realized that it has been a month since my post "Working My Butt Off". That's really interesting because today I finished my part of that project. I didn't know that it had been a month since I started building a cover for Char's heating and cooling ducts. Saturday and today I finished putting the rest of the siding on the cover. I was putting on the small pieces that had to be specially measured and cut. It is slow and time consuming to climb the 12 foot ladder, measure the piece, climb down and cut the piece, then climb back up and nail the piece in place if it fits, otherwise it's measure and cut time again and that means another trip up and down the ladder. My 68 year old knees don't like that much climbing and I paid for it Sunday morning. Today I placed the roof on the cover and shingled it. I had to get on the main roof and lay on my belly to get the first course started. Then I could stand on the new roof if I was careful, the roof is only 2'x4', so there isn't much room to stand and nail. But, I got it done and then I trimmed it out. Now there are only a few trim pieces to put up and I think Chuck can do that. It looks really good and I'm proud of my work. I think I'll stick t cabinet making in my shop from now on. Climbing that ladder is not my cup of tea any more. Reminds me of my old volunteer firefighter days. I could climb a 20' ladder with a roll of 2 1/2" hose on my back. Maybe that's why my knees protest so much now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I haven't made any references to all the stuff that's going on in The Episcopal Church because I have been really distressed about all that's happening. I read some of the more prolific Episcopal bloggers on a regular basis and the many comments they elicit and I have this terrible sense of loss. It seems to me that the Church is just like the nation, strongly divided between the liberals and the conservatives. While I guess that's to be expected in politics it seems to me that being a follower of Jesus Christ isn't a case of liberal or conservative. I know that both sides claim that they represent the true Christ, but to me they are both wrong. It seems to me that Jesus made it a point not to join a particular group in his sojourn here on the earth. It seems to me that we spend too much time worrying about what others do or believe and too little time being followers of The Christ. His admonition to us was simple-- love your God and love your neighbor as yourself. That's it. Period. Gene Robinson's sexual orientation is none of my business or yours either. Katherine Jefferts-Schori's beliefs are only important when she tries to impose those beliefs on me. The thing that drew me to the Episcopal Church was the idea that there was room for everybody. What would Jesus do? The better question is what will you do? Will you love your neighbor? Unconditionally? Without judgement?

Monday, October 1, 2007

The War

Jean and I have been faithful viewers of Ken Burns' "The War" on PBS these past two weeks. It has been chillingly mesmerizing. The images and the verbal descriptions have been riveting. Never having been in war I can not imagine what those guys went through. I have been watching to see if my dad, who spent 32 months in the South Pacific as a SeaBee, is shown in any of the photos. He was in 7 island invasions, but the islands they took offered little or no resistance. I still look a little more carefully when pictures of navy guys are shown. I was quite surprised to see a picture of our little town taken July 4, 1941. They used it to show small town life on the 4th of July during the war. A photographer employed by the WPA or another of the make work programs took a large number of pictures on the 4th of July 1941, and those photos are in the Library of Congress. Our little local museum has copies of them in an album with the particular picture displayed on the wall. The picture shows people in a cafe looking out the window at the parade passing by. The word "Cafe" is reversed because the view is out the window with "Cafe" painted on the outside. Gave me a little thrill.