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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Pictured is what’s remaining of Trinity Lutheran in Dallas TX. I got this from Google Maps (what a resource, right?). I looked it up after receiving an email from my brother with a news story that it is to become a branch of Dallas YMCA. From dallasnews.com:

The Y has plans to resurrect the site of the vacant Trinity Lutheran Church — a block away from the present building — into a new branch, and most nearby residents appear to support the project. “We can’t do anything else but get better, hopefully, and more spacious,” Skinner said. The Y has a contract on the church property, at the corner of Gaston and Loving avenues, and the Dallas Plan Commission will consider a zoning-change application in May. If approved, the White Rock branch may open the new facility by 2014.

This news is sad to me because this is where my grandparents worshipped for over 40 years. They both passed away before the church was shuttered. I attended both their memorial services there. I watched my grandfather suddenly interrupt the pastor eulogizing my grandmother, his wife, calling for a hymn to be played and sung, the hymn my grandmother had played at her baptism generations ago, and he sang it without aid of the hymnbook – at a time when he sometimes failed to remember his grown children and grandchildren. An amazing feat to me.

From a very young age, my family travelled from Louisiana up to Dallas, and spend numerous Easter Sundays in the pews before going back to the grandparents house to hunt Easter eggs with the cousins, and of course later I went with my own kids.

It is sad to think there are other weddings, baptisms, Christmas Eves, and weekly Sunday services that will vanish from memory.

Thankfully, my faith tells me God has not forgotten, and welcomes home all those who worked and worshipped here. I am thankful for this place that took care of my grandparents because the results of their lives were wonderful, and I remember them often (my grandfather’s beloved rocking chair sits in my living room).

PS  I got to meet the great Dallas Cowboy defensive lineman Jethro Pugh one Sunday as he also attended here. Enormous thrill.

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I joined FB to get news about particular things, and the original reason that I joined has gone away.  Now I find myself getting really annoyed by a number of people who are from my old church who link YouTube videos, usually of beautiful choral music from England, from a site that’s called “Unapologetically Episcopalian.”  I find myself thinking, “Really, these people don’t think they have anything to apologize for? Really?”  In fact, one of my “friends” who is, in reality not just virtually, a friend, complained to me over lunch about the elevation of Mary Glasspool.  Mind you, not that Bishop Glasspool is a practicing lesbian (someone please alert me when ECUSA elevates a chaste single person: now, that would be news,) but that the ceremony included incantations performed by local Native American shamans to wit, “And to Mother Earth who created us all…”

There comes a point where the gerrymandering of religious tenets begins to resemble the old Steve Martin routine:

“I used to smoke marijuana. But I’ll tell you something: I would only smoke it in the late evening. Oh, occasionally the early evening, but usually the late evening – or the mid-evening. Just the early evening, midevening and late evening. Occasionally, early afternoon, early midafternoon, or perhaps the late-midafternoon. Oh, sometimes the early-mid-late-early morning. . . . But never at dusk.”

On a somewhat lighter note, I observe that a “What Not to Wear” fan has created a blog called “Bad Vestments.”  Long overdue and I note the prominence of Katherine Jefferts-Schori in the BV All Time Worst Top (Bottom) Ten.

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Here we go again.  First large-scale formal quantitative test confirms Darwin’s theory of universal common ancestry.

Until now, the theory that makes ladybugs, oak trees, champagne yeast and humans distant relatives has remained beyond the scope of a formal test. Now, a Brandeis biochemist reports in Nature the results of the first large scale, quantitative test of the famous theory that underpins modern evolutionary biology.

Yet, it doesn’t disqualify faith. People get exercised over evolution v. creationism. To me one is a subset of the other, it appears to be just one arrow in God’s quiver of miracles. Like all of His ways, a mystery. Relax and try to understand the basis of both, and keep the faith.

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Which is more cringe inducing? Sadly, this spectacle makes Philo’s point about our so-called war on terror even more depressing: we aren’t even pursuing the flunkies in any way that is coherent.  The Taliban knows who there their enemy is, and will advertise to one and all who the enemy is.  We glance nervously around and knit our brows and courageously refuse to impugn a religion

Don’t you feel like the poor kid who’s being defended by Mr. Smooth here?  America is Stan Rothenstein.

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No, dear, that dress doesn’t make your asterisk look fat.

My dog ate my homework.

The system worked.

What part of this scenario makes no sense?

On Sunday night, about 24 hours after the smoking Nissan Pathfinder was left on a bustling Manhattan street, investigators identified Mr. Shahzad as the buyer of the car. While the vehicle identification number had been removed from the passenger compartment, a detective found a duplicate number on the engine block.

But at that point, officials said, they were uncertain of Mr. Shahzad’s role and did not think they had enough evidence to arrest him and charge him with a crime. Instead, they began an urgent manhunt; F.B.I. agents located Mr. Shahzad in Bridgeport, Conn., and began to follow him.

It remained uncertain Tuesday night at what time Mr. Shahzad had been found and when he was lost. Paul Bresson, an F.B.I. spokesman, declined to comment on the surveillance issue.

But at about 12:30 p.m. on Monday, more certain that Mr. Shahzad was the suspected terrorist, investigators asked the Department of Homeland Security to put him on the no-fly list. Three minutes later, the department sent airlines, including Emirates, an electronic notification that they should check the no-fly list for an update. At about 4:30 p.m., more information was added to the list, including Mr. Shahzad’s passport number, officials said.

Hint: Since when do you have to have enough evidence to arrest someone before you approach and ask him to come in for questioning, as a car that belongs to him is involved in a crime?  If he’s innocent of any wrongdoing, he might be able to help investigators.  He might have lent the car to someone, he might have left it at a repair shop.  Do I think he wasn’t approached because the Feds are shot up the you-know-what with “sensitivity”?  Uh, yes.  If this guy had actually been white, no problemo, we haul him in, chat him up at a leisurely pace while we gather more evidence and check out his story.

Update: Fun fact, which will amaze all of your friends who read the 9/11 Report (or even anyone who remembers 9/11)

Airlines are not required to report cash purchases, a Homeland Security official said. Emirates actually did report Mr. Shahzad’s purchase to the Transportation Security Administration — but only hours later, when he was already in custody, the official said.

Excuse me while I retrieve my teeth.

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Last year I made the decision to get serious about not being an Episcopalian anymore, and [extensive edits for length] decided to become a Roman Catholic, which will finally happen in a couple of weeks.  Anyway, in the process of educating myself about the Church I’ve come across the answer to a burning question: why does the music that is sung in mass suck really big eggs?  Those of us who have been/are Prots are used to great hymns (Philo- am I right?)  but the hymns in RC churches just stink.  Oh, and a lot of RC types think so, too, although the vast majority of the hoy poloy are so music-numbed at this point, they don’t know what I’m talking about.  Of course, I say that I now know the answer, but I bet nearly everyone I know already knew the answer and will say, “Yeah, duh!” but here goes:  When Vatican II ‘modernized’ the mass by allowing it to be said in the vernacular, it also allowed for hymns to be sung, in the vernacular.  Just one problem: there were no Catholic hymns in the vernacular.  It was the Katrina of church music: suddenly, at what could arguably be described as the nadir of popular culture for religious music, there was great demand for hymns that could pass muster theology-wise in the Roman Catholic Church.  Result: lotsa strummy strummy guitar, key of C namby-pamby music with alarmingly stupid/insipid/self-involved lyrics.

So what did the RC’s do before?  They didn’t have HYMNS.  They had liturgical music.  To this day, most RC’s really are not comfortable really singing out, like you’d hear their Prot brethren do.  I’m invariably the most enthusiastic hymn singer, when there’s a decent one on offer (there are some familiar tunes in the hymnal, although the arrangements are lowest common denominator.)  I pieced this together by avidly reading a blog that has become my guilty pious pleasure.  It’s called The New Liturgical Movement. I don’t know how much of a movement they are, but they are hell-bent, so to speak, on bringing back THE OLD WAYS, which are always in Latin.  Yes, you really have to develop a taste for this blog and being a glutton for punishment helps.  There is no aspect of the liturgy, the architecture, the vestments, the music that is too arcane for this site.  And they are unsparing in their criticism of modern “accomodationist” practices.  Christmas hymns? Big, big no-no.  And this is what they call “pop music” (in a post entitled “Limited Praise for Pop Music”):

I’ll say this, if you want to increase your Scrabble score, this is the site for you.  What is an “almuce,” you ask?  It’s this furry little capelet, complete with the tails of the critter [content warning: PETA folks, don’t go here.]

OK, there’s a lot of really obscure stuff here, but there is some rather inspiring stuff, too.  Like this church that is being moved (as in transported) from Buffalo, New York to the ‘burbs of Atlanta, Georgia.  Go to the links- you have to see the pictures.

And the world’s largest hanging organ- in Regensburg, B16’s stomping grounds.  Awesome, huh?

Speaking of inspiring…

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Happy Thanksgiving!

We do, indeed, have a lot to be thankful for. I am amazed at how few these days remember to whom we owe thanks. Our Associate Pastor last Sunday referred to Thanksgiving as a secular holiday. If pastors don’t remember, then who will?

Here’s a video starring T. J. Thyne (Dr. Hodgins on Bones) that will make you smile.

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