Friday, June 29, 2007
Today the Church celebrates the ministries of the co-founders of the church of Rome, St. Peter and St. Paul. Both were martyred in Rome, although neither death is recorded in the New Testament itself. By tradition, Peter is accounted as the first Bishop of Rome, hence its title as the See of Peter. Paul, of course, was instrumental in spreading the Gospel into the Roman Empire. His epistles (letters), some of which scholars know are from his hand and some which almost definitely are not, are the earliest expositions of what the Good News of Jesus meant to the believers only two generations after the Ascension.
Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
RFSJuniors is still in second place. I had a decent day yesterday with 5 starts and 2 wins with a 3.81 ERA. No saves, but a decent outing for all 5 starters except for Jeff Francis who earned 6 ERs over 5 IPs and a 10.80 ERA. My team ERA is currently 3.94, so I'm happy with a 3.81 for the day. I'm still hoping to gain some points in stolen bases, but that will take some time to accumulate because they aren't that common.
RFSJ II had 5 starts yesterday too, with a very good cumulative daily ERA of 1.86 over 29 IPs and 2 wins. Tim Hudson had a great 1.29 ERA for the day (and he pitches for the Juniors as does C.C. Sabathia as well) with 1 ER over 7 IPs. No saves today either, but I still gained an incredible 19 points for the day, but that still only puts me in 7th place in the league. Pitching is doing pretty well, but my hitting needs to improve here. I have Jeter, Wright, and Bonds, so I'm ever hopeful.
RFSJ III is down to 6th place, with 3 starts yesterday, 20 IPs and a not-very-good 5.85 ERA with a win and a save. I had Jeff Francis in this team as well, and I'm starting to wonder if this is a good idea. He was available for Juniors and III and I picked him up from waivers in both leagues. It works both ways, however, since when pitchers like Hudson and Sabathia do well, I get performance in multiple leagues. When they don't, I lose in more than league as well. I am leading in wins (8 so far vs. 4 for the nearest competitor) but am dead last in average with .233 so far. The next person up is at .263 so I have a lot of work to do. I will be looking at the waiver wire this evening. I turned down a trade today for OF Manny Ramirez for 3b Mike Lowell, both of Boston. Lowell's performance just didn't seem like the trade was worth it.
International League Update: the Mudhens beat the Indians 9-1 last night, starting with a 3-RBI double in the first inning. We had really great seats behind and a little to the right of home plate and about 7 rows up, and it wasn't crowded at all. In about the 7th inning Dad and I debuted "WSOL Radio" and provided play-by-play and color for the fans sitting around us. We had a good time, and no one told us to shut up, so I guess we must not have been too bad. We ended up taking a bus running from a shopping center near my parents' home right to the game and then back. It was very convenient and only cost a dollar besides. Price check: $3 for a dog at Fifth Third Field, and $4.50 at Yankee Stadium. $5 for a beer in Toledo, and $8 in the Bronx. Go figure.
Next update is probably not until Thursday. Hopefully I will have better news then!
July 21st at 12:01 AM is fast arriving, and none too soon for those of us waiting for the last and final installmanet of the Harry Potter series. The NYT reports that the blogosphere is teeming with speculation and possible spoilers. I myself am going to wait patiently (more or less) for my copy to actually arrive. I have told my boss I am taking the day off that day!
....about rope but didn't know whom to ask: Knot and Rope Supply in Perrysburg, is your place. My dad works part time there doing all sorts of things like splicing lengths of rope and doing decorative work. Last year they had a commission to do some decorative net work for the Ann Taylor stores in New York. They also supply all kinds of maritime needs, as you might expect. Check them out and pass the word.
Begs the question about how moral lines are set first, doesn't it? When I think of the stances taken by the Administration vis-a-vis human beings, I can't see a consistent ethic that values human beings very much myself. Even the soldiers and veterans who have borne so much of this Administration's policies have been treated shabbily at best and unconscionably (according to most people) at worst.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Today (for a few more minutes at least), we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Also called the Forerunner and the Baptizer, this is the John who is considered Elijah, the last ofthe "old order" who points the way toward Jesus but who very clearly is not to be considered on the same level. The Daily Office readings make that perfectly clear. Raymond Brown suggests in The Community of the Beloved Disciple that there are those known to that community who do think that John the Baptist was the Messiah, hence the effort of the Fourth Gospel - and all four, really - to make very clear who John is and who John is not.
We remember today, 6 months before Christmas, the birth of him who made the way plain for Jesus who is the true pioneer and perfecter of our faith:
Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your lovingkindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Itinerary so far:
Wednesday: on the road all day from Bayonne to Columbus , Ohio. I stayed with my friends Paul and Michael. They just bought a new townhouse condo in the Harrison West section of Columbus. Paul teaches Spanish at Whitehall HS, a suburb of Columbus, and Michael is Minister of Music at Peace Lutheran Church in Gahanna and teaches voice and piano privately and at Otterbein College.
Thursday: Spent the morning with Paul, then went to visit Capital University, where I got my undergraduate degree in Political Science and Computer Science back in 1989. They've done a lot to the campus, but much of it is still the same. I felt very nostalgic wandering around and seeing stuff. The university finally closed off Mound Street, which ran right through the center of campus, after they acquired the last private home on the block. It was a very bright day and hardly any trees, so the new center of campus felt like a desert as far as I was concerned. I noticed in particular that the Conservatory complex had really grown a lot, with a new connecting building between Mees Hall and the next hall over. Lots of new practice rooms and stuff. They've renamed the library the Blackmore Library after Josiah Blackmore, who was president when I was there and for several years after. As I wondered around the campus, I was surprised to see some names of faculty who were there when I was there - that really says a lot about the longevity of the place.
I hit Indianapolis about 7 PM, and stayed through Sunday with my friends Stephan and Jeffrey in Indianapolis. I met them years ago as they sing in the Choir of Men and Boys of Christ Church Cathedral, my home parish. Jeffrey is a physican and works primarily in acute care and occupational care practices. Steve sings professionally as a counter tenor and maintains an extensive teaching and recital schedule. They're such good people - it was good to see them also.
On Friday I slept in and then had a nice afternoon with my grandmother in Muncie, Indiana. She's a very hale 81 and still volunteers at a nursing home twice a month. I hadn't seen her in a while and it was nice to catch up. She baked me a very nice strawberry pie for dessert. It was great!
Saturday was the Big Day for my good friend Davies Reed. He and two others were ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons at a wonderful service at Christ Church. Bishop Cate Waynick presided and preached. I thought her sermon was excellent but she told us later she didn't like it. Afterward, Davies had a nice get-together at his home for family and friends. I got to see several priests and partners and spouses whom I hadn't seen. Lots and lots of catch up!
On Sunday, Davies served as Deacon at Christ Church and I was given permission to vest and process and help with communion, otherwise known as "dressing up and walking around." That was a great joy for me and I know for Davies as well, since I had not served as a priest in my home parish since my own ordination in February. Once again, I got to see lots of people I hadn't seen in a while!
After a dim sum brunch with several friends from Christ Church at Shen Yang, which I had never been to while living in Indy, I headed up to Toledo to see my parents. We had a nice little supper, talked for a while, and went to bed.
Today is Monday. Dad and I drove to breakfast and then to see the Solon plot and see if we could get the date for when my grandmother died. The stone only had the year on it thought - 1997. I'm hoping we can do a ten-year anniversary family reunion in September
We also went to visit Woodlawn Cemetery, which I also had never been to while growing up. Lots of prominent Toledo families have plots there - the Libbeys, Tiedtkes, LaSalles, Guenkels, and others. It was fun to drive around and see them. At least one of the mausoleums (plural in Latin is what, I wonder?) has a real Tiffany window in it. Seems a bit of a waste, but probably felt right to the family involved at the time.
Tonight Dad and I are going to see the Toledo Mudhens play the Indianapolis Indians in AAA ball at Fifth Third Field downtown. We have great seats - only $8 each! - behind and a little to the right of home plate. In fact, we need to get going here in a few minutes.....
Baseball Update will come soon, if anyone is truly interested besides me, that is.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
RFSJuniors: #1 for 1 day (Yay!!!!), but I will slip back to second after this evening. However, I am trading for Jose Reyes and Juan Pierre for Miguel Tejada and Hunter Pence, and so as long as everything else hold up, I can gain a few points in SBs and maybe make a good run for first.
RFSJ II: ended up 6th yesterday, and dead last tonight so far! Yikes!
RFSJ III: ended second yesterday, having a bad night tonight, will be perhaps 6th.
The standings will shift a lot in the next few days and weeks, so it will be interesting to see how this all will play out!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Interestingly, the Septuagint (Greek text) for both "face" and "countenance" is the same word in the Numbers passage, and is the same word in Psalm 80 as well. I can't read the Hebrew, but the Tanakh (the definitive English translation by Jewish scholars from the Hebrew) puts the blessing this way: "The Lord bless you and protect you! The Lord deal kindly and graciously with you! The Lord bestow his favor upon you and grant you peace!" Note the exclamation marks - they are included in the Tanakh version.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Trinity Parish in Bergen Point
Pentecost III RCL 2007
I Kings 21:1-10, 15-21a; Ps 5:1-8; Gal 2:15-21; Luke 7:36-8:3
R.F. Solon, Jr.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord our rock and Redeemer. Amen.
Last Friday evening, I stumbled across the Daytime Emmys, and I watched for about ten minutes when I realized I had no idea who actors were and what the shows were about. So I switched back to the Mets-Yankees game. The Mets won that one, by the way.
But there’s a certain glamour about
Wouldn’t it be fun to be a celebrity? You‘re famous. Everyone’s watching you! You’re on the news a lot, just for doing ordinary things like going to the store. What a trip that must be. And the movies that have made celebrities who they are! Some of them are now classics. The Wizard of Oz. Gone with the Wind. Jaws. The Godfather.
Did you notice that those classic movies are all based on classic novels first? Nearly all the best-loved movies on the all-time list of the Internet Movie Database are adapted from books or novels. Seems to me that
When it comes to casting our new film, there are all kinds of roles to fill. Who would you like to play? As I wonder about the cast of characters, I find myself drawn again and again to the unnamed people of Jezreel whom Jezebel ropes into having Naboth framed. She tells them to call a public assembly and make Naboth the presider, and then to get some stooges to accuse him of treason and heresy. Under Israelite law, a capital crime needed at least two witnesses, so there were enough to have Naboth whacked, legally at that. With Naboth out of the way, it was an easy thing for Ahab to claim the property he wanted.
But what about those people in the assembly, the ringleaders? And the other members of the assembly? Did they know what was going on? Did they realize that they were pawns in a game of royal scheming? What did they first think when they got the email from the
I think there’s a lot of that in 2007 too. What with the information explosion from the Internet, we all can see what’s going in the world, and right here in
And it’s easy to do that too, to escape, or simply ignore what’s going on. With the explosion of information has come also the explosion of entertainment. There are ever more cable channels to peruse, new blockbuster movies to watch, new tunes to download to our Ipods, new celebrities to gawk at. I can spend hours fussing with my fantasy baseball teams – I have three of them now! It’s very easy to be bystanders in this world today. It’s easy to know what’s going on, and like those people at Naboth’s assembly, to simply watch impassively as yet another innocent person is victimized, oppressed, or even killed.
And with all that stuff going on, it’s also very hard sometimes to recognize the good that goes on as well. It’s so easy to accentuate the negative, we forget that there are those who are not merely bystanders, but are doing active things to make the world a better place, to take a stand against cruelty, injustice ore mere indifference. I think we here at Trinity Parish can today take joy in the fact that we are not bystanders. Not today, at least. Today we kick off our capital campaign, Miracle on
My sisters and brothers, all of us are part of this great project. All of us will have something to contribute to the Miracle on
Every Sunday we come together to give thanks to God for what God has done for us. God reached out first to us and, as our Gospel says, forgives each and every one of us if the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Unlike the woman at the dinner party who was able to show her gratitude directly to Jesus, we can’t do that. He isn’t here in the same way. Jesus is here among in a real way in the Holy Communion we are about to share in just a few minutes, and we praise God for that. And God is delighted that we do so, because it was God in Jesus who asked us to remember him when we eat and drink. But that isn’t quite enough. That isn’t all God asks us to do. God asks ask to pay God’s love forward, because we can’t love God any more than God already loves each of us. God invites us to not be bystanders in the world around us, but to be part of the world around us, demonstrating God’s love in the world and not letting the world forget. We here at Trinity Parish do that every Sunday when we come together to hear God’s Word and experience that same Word in the bread and the cup. And we do that every other day of the week, too. We do that as a community by the work we do in the ministries of the Windmill Alliance. And we do that in the individual ways we pay forward God’s love to those we live and work with in our own day-to-day lives.
That’s why the Miracle on
Watching life is good. Having life, and having it abundantly, is better. That’s what God wants, and that’s what God promises. We join n that great work today.
With RFSJ III I got some of my waiver requests, but did not get Matt Morris or Jeff Suppan like I hoped. I might have been able to so do so if I had put a higher priority on the order of my requests. Oh well. I picked up some other interesting pitchers off of waivers, and I think we're OK to go ahead.
Barry Bonds is available in the RFSJ II league, so I've placed my request to pick him off of waivers. I'm low on the waiver line (10th out of 12) so it isn't likely I'll get him, but if so, I will drop NYY Johnny Damon.
It's Day 16 for the Juniors in second place. I've had a bad pitching day for Matt Morris - 8 ERs in 4.0 IPs, which is terrible. However C.W. Wang is having another excellent outing, and Joe Nathan got a rare win, albeit with a terrible 18.00 ERA - only 1 IP, though, so that didn't hurt too much. At the moment, my overall ERA for the day is 7.62 on 13 IPs. Not great at all, but I will get a second win out it when the Yankees finish beating up on the Mets in Game 3 of the Subway Series.
I realize I haven't talked about hitting much. For today, my batters are 6 for 28, 4 R, 2 HRs, 2 RBI, and 1 SB, with a .214 average on the day. Not a great day - average has been higher recently.
Even though I think that better pitching is more important in rotisserie baseball than hitting, I think hitting is more important in real baseball. A pitcher can have a great 0.00 ERA for 9 innings, but will get the loss if his hitters don't make hits and runs.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
WASHINGTON, June 14 — The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 today that an Ohio prisoner’s challenge of his murder conviction must be thrown out because he missed a filing deadline by a few days — not through his or his lawyer’s fault, but because a federal judge made a mistake.
On a technicality that was actually an error by a federal judge and not the attorney or his client, the Supreme Court denied the appeal. According to the majority opinion written by Justice Thomas, federal appeals courts “routinely and uniformly dismiss untimely appeals,” and that the case of Mr. Bowles should be no exception.
And get this. Apparently we in the hoi polloi could not possibly understand what was going on, so Justice Thomas had to explain it to us:
Justice Thomas, apparently conceding that some people, especially nonlawyers, might be flabbergasted that a judge’s error could undo an appeal, noted: “Because Congress decides, within constitutional bounds, whether federal courts can hear cases at all, it can also determine when, and under what conditions, federal courts can hear them.”
In vigourous dissent:
In dissent, Justice Souter said the Supreme Court should have granted an exception to the 14-day limit, “as it certainly seems reasonable to rely on an order from a federal judge.”
“As a member of the federal judiciary, I cannot help but think that reliance on our orders is reasonable,” Justice Souter wrote. “I would also rest better knowing that my innocent errors will not jeopardize anyone’s rights unless absolutely necessary.”I completely agree. I cannot believe that a defendant's constitutional rights to a full appeal were denied by a technicality that harmed no one, and by a federal jusdge at that. I'm appalled.
And you know how many days we're talking about? Three! Three lousy days!
Read it all and weep for our country, that routinely denies people the basic rights that all people, as both citizens and as children of God, should be able to enjoy.
Friday, June 15, 2007
I'm watching the final episode of "The Price Is Right" with Bob Barker as host. I remember watching it in the mid 70s next door at my neighbor's house. And for years, when I took a day off or whatever, I knew that at 11 AM I would be watching the Showcase Showdown. I'm getting a big wave of nostalgia! I'm actually yelling at the screen with my answers to the games!
Yesterday, I had 4 starts with RFSJuniors. For the day, my pitching staff earned a win (by Justin Germano), a save (by Joe Nathan, he really needs to get his act together more) and a cumulative ERA for the day of 3.75, which I think is pretty good for 24 IPs total. Chad Gaudin had the worst start - 5 ERs over 4.1 IP, but both Tim Hudson and Justin Germano each pitched a perfect 0.00 ERA for their starts.
Today, C.C. Sabathia (9-1, 3.09 ERA) starts against Buddy Carlyle of Atlanta, who's 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA. It would be nice for C.C. to get his 10th win today!
RFSJ II and RFSJ III start play on Monday, June 18. Yahoo! Sports originally announced play would begin on Sunday, but they changed the date and didn't seem to say why. You can see my current rosters. Waivers for RFSJ III don't clear until Sunday, and I have dropped a lot of hitters for some pretty good pitchers that did not get picked up. So we'll see how that goes.
Oh, and in RFSJ II's league, the person who originally traded Mark Teixeira for David Wright now wants him back bad: He's offering Mark back, along with Melky Cabrera (NYY, OF) and Chad Tracy (Ari, 3B)! I'm still considering it.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Justin Germano (SD) vs. J.P. Howell (TB)
Tim Hudson (Atl) vs. Johan Santana (Min)
Chad Gaudin (Oak) vs. Jason Jennings (Hou)
Jason Marquis (ChC) vs. Jason Weaver (Sea)
As of right now, only Justin is pitching, and I wont say how he's doing because I don't want to jinx him!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
So it's the 7th Inning Stretch and we are all asked to get up and remove our hats for "God Bless America." I was expecting "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" but not this. ("Take Me Out" came after.) I have to confess I was a bit disconcerted about it. It's a tradition at Yankee Stadium to sing this since 9-11, so reports Wikipedia. Here are the full lyrics, from ScoutSongs.com:
"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. "
God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.
As I review these lyrics now, a day later, they aren't so bad. and I had no problem with the Star Spangled Banner, which I love to sing (mostly, I suspect, because I can actually negotiate the entire range of that almost-unsingable song). So why my angst? I kept thinking, "Well, God surely blesses all of God's people, no matter what country they are in. So why is America any different, any more special?" I mean, doesn't God want to bless England, and Wales, and France, and India, and China and yes, even Iraq, and all its people, as well? Are not all people everywhere created imago Dei and beloved by God? Is it somehow wrong to ask for blessings on one's own nation? Does doing so imply that there is only so much blessing mojo and God can't bless more than one nation at a time? Even and especially in times of war, do not armies pray that God will certainly favor them with victory and the enemy with destruction? I mean, that part is definitely a zero-sum game: if God blesses my enemy, then I'm probably out of luck. And it begs the question, at least for me: what does it mean to pray for one's enemies and bless those who persecute one?
It turns out there are some legal issues with this as well, that are well worth reading on the Sports Law Blog.
Last year while teaching at Hunter College I had my seminar look at the actions of the Bush Administration and Congress regarding the writ of habeus corpus and its denial to enemy combatants. I was please to note in yesterday's NYT the following:
Judges Say U.S. Can't Hold Man as 'Combatant'
The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled yesterday that the president may not declare civilians in this country to be “enemy combatants” and have the military hold them indefinitely. The ruling was a stinging rejection of one of the Bush administration’s central assertions about the scope of executive authority to combat terrorism.
A civilian must be tried as a civilian, in other words. You just can't take anyone off the street and declare him an unlawful enemy combatant with or without a hearing and then hold them indefinitely.
Here's the money quote:
“To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians,” Judge Motz wrote, “even if the president calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country.”
Read it all. The Court of Appeals got it exactly right. There is a rule of law in this country, no matter what the President thinks.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It is politically naïve and theologically suspect to suggest, as some have, that having an Anglican Covenant will keep us in conversation on divisive issues. Our commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ should already keep us in loving and patient conversation on every issue of importance to the Church and the world. Those for whom our unity in Christ is not sufficient reason to remain in dialogue will not be one iota more inclined to listen to Christians with whom they disagree if we establish a new and weak political instrument.
Those who are committed to relief of the poor and to mission work will continue to minister in those arenas, and where collaborative relationships have (already) broken down, new relationships with other partners can be forged. The problem should be understood for what it is: the unconscionable refusal of some Global South primates to accept resources from provinces that do not hew to their own particular patriarchal, misogynistic, and homophobic views. If relief work suffers in the short term—which will be a tragedy—it will be because of the intransigence of those primates, not because of the absence of an Anglican Covenant or the failure of the Episcopal Church to yield to pressure on one or another matter of our local polity. (Emphasis mine - RFSJ)
Read the whole thing here. Hat tip to Thinking Anglicans.
Today is Day 11 at #2 of 12 for the RFSJuniors. My own C.W. Wang (NYY, 5-4, 3.73 ERA) starts tonight against Brandon Webb (6-3, 3.13 ERA) of the Diamondbacks, and I'm going to the game this evening! No one volunteered to go with me, so I found someone myself.
Over with RFSJ II, I traded Mark Teixeira (Tex, 1B) for David Wright (NYM, 3B). I'm kinda surprised the trade went through - I didn't accept the trade until Mark went on the DL, so I assumed the owner who proposed the trade might have cancelled it. But he or she didn't, so I picked up dreamy Xavier Nady (Pitt, 1B) to fill in for Mark. But as I discovered, early performance is pretty important, and once Mark went on the DL, I wanted someone to replace him right away if possible. So the trade, for me, came at the perfect time.
I also started a free team RFSJ III. I will post the roster and league link once I draft. I just wanna see how a free league is different from a paid one. I've heard that in the free leagues there's a lot of abandoned teams. I wonder what that's like.
I also discovered quite by accident that RFSJuniors is currently ranked #161 in the entire Yahoo Baseball Plus universe of teams. (The leaderboard only shows the top fifty teams, and if you're not logged in as me you might not be able to see my ranking.) I know there are thousands of teams being played right now, so that is very gratifying. That ranking is updated weekly, so I'll keep watch on that as well.
I just continue to be amazed at how well things are going this season so far. Since the DL God is oh-so-capricious, I'm going to continue to celebrate any success that comes my way until I can't anymore. Then you'll all have to put up with me moping around and stuff!
Monday, June 11, 2007
This reminds me of when I was much younger, when I was daydreaming in school, my pens and pencils would be starships. I had a ten-color pen once where you spun a dial to select the color you wanted. It was great for doing Spirograph. (My Spirograph was cool - I had a regular set and Super set at one point. I wonder if it's still around somewhere? I think maybe Frank took it to his classroom, but I could be completely misremembering.) Anyway, the pen had a clear plastic end so you could see the colors of the pens, so course that was the Starship Excalibur or some such, with the newly-developed warp 2.0 engine....
Youth is wasted on the young.
Read it all.
MY little guy is growing up fast. He’s toilet-trained, he goes uncomplainingly to sleep and he no longer chews on his playmates’ faces until they bleed. He is 8 months old, and I know, years from now, that I will always remember this summer as the time he and I fell in love.
Between this summer and next, this latest beagle — the third of my adult life — will age from zero to 1 (or zero to 7), on a fast track to reduce me to mourning sometime in my early 50s.
Today we celebrate the Major Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle and martyr. He is not one of the original Twelve, but is given the status of Apostle because of his encouragement of St. Paul in Paul's ministry. Barnabas is also the one who sold a field a gave the proceeds to the community, making him (in my mind) a patron of stewardship campaigns!
Officially, Barnabas is patron against hailstorms, patron of peacemakers, and of Cyprus, Anticoch, and Marino in Italy.
Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well-being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
While my family and I were checking out at Fairway recently, another customer walked up to the cashier and asked if her line was the express line. The cashier replied that it was not.
My 5-year-old son, an experienced straphanger, turned to me and asked, “Is this the local line?”
Everyone within earshot had a laugh. Leslie Brown
Sunday, June 10, 2007
It's called a Fire Rainbow and the conditions apparently have to be just so for one to occur. But the sheer beauty of it makes me think of God's bounty for the whole creation. I'll bet a Fire Rainbow is truly stunning in real life.
Blessed be God, who gives us Fire Rainbows to delight the eye and stir the Soul!
Saturday, June 9, 2007
The Very Good News: my good friend Chris Bishop is now the Rev. Chris Bishop! He and six others were ordained to the diaconate today at the Philadelphia Cathedral. It was a wonderful service. At the last minute. Chris asked my to serve as one of his presenters,. I was honored to say yes. Pictures will follow.
The Also Good News: Day 8 for the RFSJuniors at #2. Today I'm only two points (90.5 to 88.5) away from nearly perpetual 1st place AllOutBulls, and 13 points ahead of the #3 Go Dodgers.
The Less (Maybe) Good News: I got up early to go to Philly today and did not check my roster. I have two starters (Hudson and Marquis) starting today, and I kept then accidentally benched. However, they are starting against each other! So their performance, if bad, won't accrue to me. Currently, at the bottom of the 2nd, it's 4-3, Atlanta over Chicago. Maybe they'll both get creamed with ERs and get it out of their system. Sad, isn't it, that I'm actually hoping my own pitchers do poorly? Update: Marquis lasted 1.2 IP with 2 ERs and a 10.80 ERA, Hudson 2,0 IP with 5 ERs and a whopping 22.50 ERA - none of which accrued to me. Whew!
Friday, June 8, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Check out Maria's personal blog too, while you're at it.
And Gary Sheffield, who had an extremely slow start this season, went 2-for-4 with 2 HR and 5 RBI yesterday!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
RFSJuniors is still - remarkable! - in second place, now for 5 days running! C.C. Sabiatha had a truly excellent outing on Tuesday in a 1-0 win over Kansas City: 0.00 ERA for the game with 8 KOs over 9.0 IP. Amazing!
Tonight I have Washburn, Morris, and Wang all starting. I hate it when so many pitchers are all going at once - it's almost like I can't bear to watch their games play out in case things start to go south.
RFSJ II begins play on June 18. I still need a reliever - I may try to trade for one.
Last night I was invited to see the show Passing Strange at the Public Theatre at Astor Place. It's an interesting show - kind of like a rock opera, but more of an extended ballad. The music is provided by a 4 piece band - 2 guys on keyboards/guitar, another on bass, and drums. There's a narrator, two leads, and several backup singers who play multiple roles. It's done in a thrust stage with very minimal staging, but with a huge neon-and-light-bulb backdrop along the back wall, that's mostly used in Act II. The music is kind of eclectic but has a lot of rock, blues, punk, funk, industrial, and some gospelly stuff here and there as well.
The show is basically the story of a middle-class black kid growing up in South Central Los Angeles (race is an important theme in this show; the band is all white, but all the actors are black) and his story of coming of age in LA and then in Amsterdam and Berlin. Production values were excellent, as one would expect. However, I (and my friend) thought that Act I, which describes the boy's time in LA from about age 17 to about 20, and his sojourn in Amsterdam, to be much better - more authentic - than Act II. The blurb on the website says:
From Los Angeles to Amsterdam to Berlin and Back, Passing Strange is the story of a young black bohemian, who abandons his bourgeois roots to journey to Europe searching for ‘the real’. Discovering a world of sex, drugs, rock and roll and art revolutionaries, our rebel-hero explores love, identity and the meaning of home.
That's true as far as it goes. However, we both found that Act II - the Berlin part - didn't seem real to us. As I told my friend, "I couldn't tell if he was being ironic or authentic in Berlin." It was almost as if the character was playing a character in Berlin, and wasn't even attempting to be real himself there, but was simply giving his audience (he became the darling of the industrial set while there) what they wanted.
Some other things didn't work. We felt that the ending lacked a lot of heart and left us both emotionally, well, not cold, but unaffected. And I definitely did not like the bit at the end when the Narrator, who is also the co-producer, book author and composer, gave a story about the final dress rehearsal - it was rather jarring, coming immediately after the end of the show itself, especially given the attempted poignancy of the final scenes. There was no transition from the end of the ballad to the meta-story about the dress rehearsal; the ending just fell rather flat with me. The friend I was with, a huge theatre buff, wasn't too thrilled either, and he had come back a second time to see it just to make sure he hadn't missed anything the first time. As he remarked over a nice supper later, he hadn't.
There are lots of excellent moments, to be sure. There's a great scene in Act I where the Youth is smoking pot with the youth choir director, who is flamboyantly gay (away from the church) and yet is afraid to be open about his own sexuality. I found it a wry comment on homophobia in black churches, whcih I understand to be a real problem - see Their Own Receive Them Not: African American Lesbians and Gays in Black Churches, by the Rev. Dr. Horace Griffin of General Theological Seminary. And there are some really wonderful scenes during the Amsterdam sojourn about trust and breaking of trust that for me, were more emotionally laden than the ostensible emotional climax at the end of the show.
Passing Strange is being held over until July 12. The New York Times and the New Yorker have reviewed the show as well.
Monday, June 4, 2007
So, welcome to Trinitytide!
Hudson and Marquis are starting for me today. I'm confident about Hudson, although there were odd rumblings about him last week after one not-so-great start. Marquis? Well, I don't know. He's a Cubbie, and they're having team problems.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Trinity Parish in Bergen Point
Trinity Sunday 2007 RCL
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Canticle 13; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
R. F. Solon, Jr.
In the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity! Amen.
Take out your Tidings, the worship bulletin for today, and turn to the prayer list page. You should find on it the old logo or seal of our own Trinity Parish in Bergen Point. [See above - RFSJ] Depending on your eyesight – and mine isn’t very good – you might be able to make out some of the detail. In the exact center is a circle that has the Latin word Deus – it means God. Around the center circle are three other circles. One shows a hand cupped around some tiny little people. If you look closely at a scan of the logo on a computer, you can seeing them praying! That gentle hand is the Almighty Creator. Over on the right of the center circle is a little icon of Jesus Christ, holding a Lamb on his shoulders and wearing a red and white halo. And below the center circle is a bird – a dove – descending from above with seven stars. That’s the Holy Spirit, and the seven stars included in the image are, I’m pretty sure, the seven-fold gifts of the Spirit that we celebrated just last Sunday at Pentecost.
There’s more to the entire logo as well. Connecting each of three outer icons is a bar that says “non est,” which is Latin again for “is not.” So the whole logo tells us that The Almighty non est the Son and the Holy Spirit non est the Father and the Almighty non est the Spirit. But there’s even more. Running from each of the outer icons to the center circle is a bar, and in that bar it says, “est.” In other words, the Almighty est Deus, the Almighty is God. The Son est Deus – the Son is God. The Spirit est Deus. The Spirit is God. What this ancient symbol of the Trinity, the Patron of this parish church, tells us is that God is One in Three and Three in One. The Undivided Trinity. What a paradox! How can three – Trinity – be One? How can one be Three and still be One?
I could perhaps end right here and now and simply throw up my hands and say, well it’s a Mystery! On to the Creed! Of course, that wouldn't solve much either, because the Creed itself has three sections, each corresponding to, you guessed it, one of the Persons of the Trinity. So that’s no help.
So what is this Trinity? What is this that we invoke at the beginning of our worship? We say “Blessed by God, Father, son, and Holy Spirit.” We pray "through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God." And at the end we often hear something like, “The Blessing of God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier be with you and those whom you love.” What’s all this about?
There has been so much written about the Trinity. The doctrine itself is embedded in all three Creeds that we confess at various times. Ask me about the third one at coffee this morning. But for all the words written, all the treatises published, and even all the excommunications cast, it seems to me it’s pretty simple to understand.
We know Jesus by many names but one that is supremely powerful is what John’s gospel calls him, the Word with a capital W. Think about "word" for a moment. The beginning of John’s gospel says this in Chapter 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The evangelist is speaking of Jesus. The very first thing that this Gospel says about Jesus has to do with the relationship between Jesus and the Almighty. In fact, I’d venture to say that the entire theme of the gospel of John is about how Jesus the Son of God is so closely connected to God the Almighty, whom he calls Father. And the Word was God. Jesus est Deus! And of course the Almighty est Deus too.
But what about the Holy Spirit? The first reading from Proverbs is a glorious poem from the lips of Wisdom. Wisdom is, of course, the first of those sevenfold gifts of the Spirit, and was with God at the very beginning of creation. Wisdom says, “When he established the heavens, I was there. When he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master worker, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing in his inhabited world, and delighting in the human race.” And
In other words, God is Love, or better yet the Lover from whom the whole universe burst forth in the force of that Love. But even before the universe began, the Lover had the Beloved, because Love, like a spoken word, must come out and be separate from that which loves. And it is Love itself that envelops the Lover and the Beloved and binds them together in the never ending and ever-deepening relationship of one to another. The Trinity simply is our expression of the God that is Love, the eternal Beloved who always existed, and the Spirit of Love itself. And when you think about it, you can’t really say what’s the beginning, which came first. You can’t have a Lover without Love. You can’t have Love without a Lover. And having a Beloved means there is One who Loves. It’s all about relationship, about being in relationship and wanting to be in relationship.
And our logo of Trinity Parish represents that fundamental aspect of relationship of God as well. Look at the logo again. There is a single circle running around the entire logo that contains all of this and indicates who we are as well. We – Trinity Parish in Bergen Point - are in essence enveloped by that same Lover, Beloved, and Love that binds them. Because it binds us together too. We who are members of Trinity Parish are part of the great circle of Lover, Beloved and Love. We who are the body of Christ here in Bergen Point become one with Christ and so feel the power of that all-encompassing Love of the Beloved. We, you and I, are drawn into the never-ending dance among the Three Persons of the undivided Trinity, the dance of life itself that existed before time and space, and will exist long after both time and space have ceased to be.
And we can take the Trinity as a model for our own lives as well. We know, because we have felt and continue to feel it, that the Three-in-One is always with each of us, loving us with that total love that forgives absolutely everything, no matter what. In our baptism we are incorporated into the network of the Trinity. That network of love will never break and we will never be cast out of it. It will never be offline to us! But sometimes, the love we try to model to others isn’t always enough. We try to imitate it, but we still get angry, frustrated, upset with each other. We sin, sometimes horribly, against one another, the earth, ourselves. Although our relationship in the network of the Trinity is forever, our own relationships with one another sometimes are not. We try to love and sometimes, perhaps often, we fail. You may have experiences, or are experiencing, something like that in your own life. I know I have. But let me tell you, you may find, as I have, in the back of my mind and my heart, that God stills me and still loves you, and that the brokenness of our lives and our relationships too is drawn into that network of Love that is the Three-in-One. That has been a great comfort and even joy. The Good News after all, isn’t complicated. It’s pretty straightforward. There doesn’t have to be much mystery about it. Lover. Beloved. The Love between them. We’re part of it, permanently. That’s it!
On this day we not only celebrate the Mystery of Unity in Trinity, but we also give thanks to God the Three-in-One, our Patron, for the founding and continued prosperity of our own Parish, named in honor of that same Mystery. As we eat and drink together at the Holy Table in the quintessential act of relationship, let us also give thanks for this parish church, founded in 1859 and now in its third structure. Today after our celebration we will take counsel together for the future of our parish at our annual parish meeting. We have much to talk about. We will, in just a few months, break ground for the additions to the parish complex. We will, on June 17, celebrate in a public way what we have done so far with our own ministry of relationships, the Windmill
(PS - Sorry about the inconsistent formatting - very frustrating!)
Saturday, June 2, 2007
I did not pay attention to my final ranking of players before my mid-season league drafted this afternoon. My other team, RFSJ II, now has a roster and will begin playing on June 18. I had picked BJ Ryan as a closer, and he's out for the season - didn't even know it. I did get some other interesting players, but I need to fill out my roster soon. Right now all players are on the waiver wire until Tuesday, June 5, so I have some time to pick who I want. I am first in the waiver line at the moment, so I know that I will get the very first player I pick off of waivers. That will take some study. I don't know enough to be hopeful or not with this team, but now that I'm single, I guess I have more time for this sort of thing.
But first, evening prayer for Eve of Trinity Sunday, a little supper, and work on my sermon for tomorrow. If it's any good I'll post it. If it isn't, I may post it anyway and ask for pointers.
Today we traditionally remember all Christians in their vocations as proclaimers of Christ's reconciliation to the world:
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole
body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified:
Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before
you for all members of your holy Church, that in their
vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you;
through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
It's also a traditional day for ordinations, and in the Diocese of Newark, we gathered at the Cathedral of Trinity and St. Phillip (left) to ordain four new deacons today. It was a fine, if hot, service, but it was special for me because I got to wear the stole that my own home parish gave me at my diaconal ordination at this diaconal ordination. I've never worn it before, and it just so happens this was the first opportunity. It was a rather poignant experience.
My prayers for all new deacons in this season of ordinations!
My other team, RFSJ II, is being drafted as we speak and I'll link to its roster as soon as its set.
Friday, June 1, 2007
I debated whether or not to even blog about it, because it might jinx it, ya know, but for at least one day this season - today! - RFSJuniors is in First Place in our league. I figure I'm going to celebrate it today, because of my perhaps-morbid conviction it won't last long.
But for now: Whoo-hoo!!!!!
O God, who didst lead thy holy apostles to ordain ministers
in every place: Grant that thy Church, under the guidance of
the Holy Spirit, may choose suitable persons for the ministry
of Word and Sacrament, and may uphold them in their work
for the extension of thy kingdom; through him who is the
Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP p. 205/256)
On this day we should particularly remember Parish Discernment Committees and diocesan Commissions on Ministry, which can be both the bane and the blessing to those discerning a call to ordained ministry.