Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Break

I taught high school math and science for over 40 years and our family life was fashioned around the school calendar. For years, spring break was anxiously awaited by children and parents alike. When the kids were still at home we often traveled out of town with a school group on a sports trip or a club trip to someplace across the state. After our kids were grown and out on their own, our spring break trips were to visit them. For a number of years we went to Phoenix, AZ to see the kids. For a year or two both of them lived in Phoenix. It was quite nice to leave our still cold and winter like weather and head to the Valley of the Sun. The strange thing about our Spring Break travels was that no matter where we went, the weather was bad, while the weather at home was good. If we stayed at home the opposite was true, miserable at home, great everywhere else. I've been out of education for 6 years and our schedule is no longer tied to school events. But, the pattern still holds true, if we stay home spring break the weather is bad. If we travel, the weather is bad. Not sure what to make of that.

SSSSSSSSTTT! ZOT! (Voice from the clouds) I don't know Dan, sometimes you just piss me off!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Keep on Writing

I continue to find myself at a loss for words. In oral discussion I seldom find myself without anything to say. Like most clergy I talk too much. It's funny that back when I was a layperson heavily involved in the Church I used to rant about the clergy monopolizing discussion. Now I are one! The strange thing is that the laity defer to us folks in the funny collars. They seem to think that putting on the collar somehow brings wisdom. My experience is that we are just as confused as everybody else. If you don't believe me just listen to some clergy discussing some theological point. As the old saying goes, "Opinions are are like a**holes, everybody has one."

Another stereotype about clergy is one I first heard from Charlie Congleton, the "Mayor" of Paulina, Oregon. Charlie wasn't much for religion of any type and he said. "Did you ever see a skinny preacher? They get fat on the congregation's money!" Guess what? Since I was ordained I have gained 50+ pounds, even though I have always been non-stipendiary. I guess I have to live up to the stereotype. Oh, Charlie Congleton owned a small farm (his words)(14,000 deeded acres) just outside of Paulina, pop 35. Used to go to every Democratic National Convention and have a ball. I worked for Charlie two summers on his ranch bucking bales of hay when I was in High School. But that's another story.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Jean and I went to Canyon City for Easter services. We had a great time, I got to do my third baptism at St. Thomas since I started going up there a year ago. We had a packed house, 67 bodies stuffed into that little church is quite a sight. I wonder what the first time visitors thought of the priest though. I enlisted the older brother of the baptizee as my acolyte to hold my prayer book as we did the actual baptism. As we were moving into position for the ceremony, he accidentally knocked the pitcher of water for the font over onto the carpet in front of the altar. That posed a problem since there is no running water in the church. I had to send next door to the parish house for more water. The rest of the baptism went fine except that little Ryland did not like to have cold water poured on his head and he screamed bloody murder. Interestly enough, when I told him I was sorry, he stopped crying.

Things went pretty after that until we started the Eucharist. That's when we discovered we didn't have enough wafers in the pyx and I had to send someone into the sacristy for more wafers. Then, after The Great Thanksgiving, as I was proceeding to the altar rail about 20 wafers slid onto the floor. My Chalice Bearer asked, "what do we do now?" I said, "pick them up." which she did and placed them on the edge of the altar. On one of my last trips back to the end of the rail, I stealthily placed them on the paten and then distributed them with the others. That way we had enough to go around. I suggested that in the future they have 2 paten when we expect a crowd. Things finished up fine, and some said they would be back. Probably one of the funniest shows in that little town.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The "Dirty" Word in Politics

I had a brief talk with my oldest brother today at the funeral of his father in law. The father in law was 97. My brother asked me who I was going to vote for in the Oregon primary. When told him I was leaning towards Hilary, he responded by saying that he was off Hilary since she had accused Obama of being a liberal. That got me to thinking about one of my pet peeves about the Democrats. They have allowed the conservatives to make liberal a pejorative term. Democrats act as though being liberal is bad! Liberal is good, and until the conservatives (which used to be a pejorative term, remember Barry Goldwater?)started acting as though progressives were the spawn of the devil, it stood for much that is good about our country. Liberals were responsible for civil rights legislation, women's suffrage, Social Security, anti-trust laws, fair working conditions and many other pieces of legislation that benefited the people of the country. Now the Dems seem to be falling all over themselves trying to be moderate. To hell with that! No wonder they have trouble getting the labor vote, they're busy courting the big bucks of the corporations. US "liberals" are so far to the right of English conservatives that it's laughable. So, Barak, instead of trying to refute Hilary, embrace liberalism. Try it, you'll like it!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

How Democratic Are You

You Are 64% Democrat

You have a good deal of donkey running through your blood, and you're proud to be liberal.

You don't fit every Democrat stereotype, but you definitely belong in the Democrat party.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Andy Rooney

I have been reading a book by Andy Rooney titled "Common Nonsense". I picked it up because I usually enjoy his bit on 60 Minutes, although I admit I haven't watched 60 Minutes for some time. I'm finding it hard reading because he is so negative. I'll admit that I have changed quite a bit in the past 20 years (thanks to my wife) and don't find sarcasm very funny any more. In our family when I was young, sarcasm was an art form used by all in the family. I liked to think that I was pretty good at it too. Now, I try to not use sarcasm because it is hurtful to the person it's used on. Andy Rooney is a master of sarcasm and negativity, and now I don't think he's very funny at all. I guess we get kinder as we age, just as we become more conservative. Well, I guess I'm not more conservative than I was. I'm still a yellow dog Democrat.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Episcopal Life

We received our copy of Episcopal Life yesterday and it seems that the people of San Joaquin are rebuilding their Diocese after the damage wrought by ex-Bishop Schofield. The folks they talked to seem to be very positive and ready to go. I think it would be interesting to know how many of the lay people followed their "leaders" in the move to the Southern Cone. It seems to me that real progress in a diocese begins at the grass roots and not from the top down. It seems to me that at General Convention the Lay Deputies are often the ones who make change happen. When the Presiding Bishop listens to the Senior House and follows their lead then real change occurs. When the people in the pews see a need for change and buy into it the Church becomes a better church.

Mind you, I am not saying that Clergy are not important, but how many times have you seen a program put forward by the Priest or the Diocese die an agonizing death? With all its pomp and hierarchy we still need people to carry out our programs.