Saturday, 5 September 2009

Bismarck. At night - a man after my own (un-redeemed) heart



In his history “Dreadnought”, Robert K. Massie writes the following of (Prince Otto Eduard Leopold von) Bismarck (1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898)

“At night, he slept poorly or not at all. Often, he lay awake until seven a.m., then slept until two p.m.

Lying in bed he mulled over grievances. “I have spent the whole night hating” he said once.

When no immediate object of hatred was available, he ransacked his memory to dredge up wrongs done to him years before”




==============================




Lord above, and to my shame, I have been there too. (jmp)




Friday, 4 September 2009

President Barack H. Obama. What "they" say, and what I think

"THEY" SAY


That he is a fascist

That he is a socialist

That he wishes to kill our aged grandparents

That he will (like H-tler) indoctrinate our children

That he is not an American citizen

That he is the "anti-Christ"

That he is secretly a Muslim

They have

Pictured him with a H-tler moustache

Made posters of him with a hammer and sickle

======================================

I forgot to mention that he is an African-American

(Do you suppose that they know this?)

I respect and admire our President

I think that they are deluded, un-patriotic, and dangerous



Thursday, 3 September 2009

Flip-flops and thieves.

We had a full house at the Resurrection House prayer service last Wednesday. “Full house” means ten people crammed into a very small chapel.

Having heard “never-ending” testimonies I often run a tight ship at these prayer services. The testimonies have often got quite preachy, and “preaching” is last on the list of needs for homeless people.

Nevertheless I try to be open to the zeitgeist, so last Wednesday we took time to listen to a homeless sister and a homeless brother.

She was probably in her sixties. Her face was worn and sad. Her expression was earnest. She talked about flip-flops.

She told us that many years ago she had a house in which to live, but she had very little money. Her only foot-wear was a pair of flip-flops. Lord, how she hated those inadequate flip-flops.

She went on to tell us of her amazement that in these days “everyone” wears flip-flops. Why, she wondered, would folks choose to wear the foot-wear which to her was a sign and reminder of poverty?

She added that “everyone looks at your shoes to judge who you are”. Then she told us that although she is now homeless she always tries to wear good shoes.

I thought that he was about 30 years of age. He is big and tall. He began to talk.


He told us that he is now 20 years old, and that he wants to make big changes in his life. He went on to tell us that for most of his life he had been “locked up”, but now he is ready for something new and better.

His hopes rest in enrollment in “Job Corps” (a Federal Government training programme). Then he added that on Tuesday his back-pack had been stolen, and with it all is I.D. and his Job Corps enrollment papers.

Even homeless people are subject to thieves.

Later in the morning I observed another volunteer as he yelled at this young man, because he was using the “wrong” entrance.

Right or wrong entrances seem to me to be moot when we care for homeless people.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Second entry for today "Why I despise the religious right". Why I am no longer an Evangelical Christian

This is the kind of crap which come from the Religious (!?) Right.

Why do these so-called Evangelicals tell so many lies?

Why do they insult and disrespect their brother in Christ Obama?


PSALM 2009 - 2012


FIRST BOOK OF DEMOCRATS

OBAMA IS A SHEPHERD,
I SHALL NOT WANT.


HE LEADETH ME BESIDE STILL FACTORIES.

HE RESTORETH MY FAITH IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

HE GUIDETH ME IN THE PATH OF UNEMPLOYMENT.

YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE BREAD LINE,
I SHALL NOT GO HUNGRY.

OBAMA HAS ANOINTED MY INCOME WITH TAXES,


MY EXPENSES RUNNETH OVER MY INCOME,

SURELY, POVERTY AND HARD LIVING WILL FOLLOW ME
ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE.

AND I WILL LIVE FOREVER
IN A RENTED HOME.


BUT I AM GLAD I AM AN AMERICAN,
I AM GLAD THAT I AM FREE.
I ONLY WISH I WAS A DOG
AND OBAMA WAS A TREE.

Check out these cool ads

http://www.toughboats.com/

My friend George Blaisdell is an owner of Toughboats.

Check out their cool ads - especially the "Divine Intervention" one.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Second entry for today: "Watch your language"

When did "majority" supplant "most" (especially from the voices of radio and T.V. reporters) as in "the majority of cars are imported" rather than "most cars are imported"?

Why do many reporters write or say "three troops were killed" rather than "three troopers were killed"?

( A troop is made up of a number of troopers.

" [the] troops" is a collective noun.)

First entry today: "Watch your language"

At the second Socialist International in Amsterdam,Holland in 1889 (?) the American Socialist Daniel DeLeon was scathing in his comments regarding various other delegates.

He described Frenchman Jean Allemane as "a flannel mouthed blatherskite"

Oh for the return of such rich language in our political discourse!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

J. Michael Povey: Sermon for August 30th 2009

Sermon for August 30th 2009
The Revd. J. Michael Povey at All Angels by the Sea, Longboat Key, FL
Songs of Songs 2:8-13; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-23


“The time for singing has come”.


I have a passion for good hymns.

The reformation message of the Church under Martin Luther was spread by song. Luther knew what I know - that we learn our faith by what we sing.


Sometimes, however, we do not know the meaning of what we sing. For example, we joyfully “belt out” Luther’s “A mighty fortress is our God” - and we sing tghe verse that says “The Prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him”, believing that we are singing about the Devil. Wrong! “The Prince of darkness” in Luther’s hymn was the Pope.

The Methodist revival in England under John and Charles Wesley was a singing revival. Charles wrote over 6,000 hymns to spread the message of scriptural holiness which his brother John preached.

Amongst the 6,000 were more than a few clunkers. But the best survived and we often sing his “Christ, whose glory fills the skies” or “Love Divine all love’s excelling” and “Hark, the herald angels sing”.

The Victorians were also great hymn writers, and for many years their works dominated our hymnody. When we think of “For all the Saints who from their labours rest”, or “The Churches one foundation” or “I sing a song of the saints of God” then we are in that world of Victorian hymns.

Victorian hymns often had a teaching purpose. Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander, (1818-1895) wife of the Archbishop of Armagh, wrote hymns for children to teach the Apostles’ Creed. So we have

“All things bright and beautiful..... the Lord God made them all” for “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”;

“Once in Royal David’s City” for “He was born of the Virgin Mary”, and

“There is a green hill far away” for “He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified”.

There was a famine in hymn writing after the Victorian era. Folks of my age and older grew up in a time when very few hymns were being written.

But from the 1970’s onwards there has been a new flowering of hymnody, bringing us new treasures in song.

One of the greatest of the late 20th century hymn writers was the Revd. Fred Pratt Green. He was a Methodist Minister in England and lived from 1903 – 2000.

As a Minister he’d never thought much about hymns, although some of his poems had been published, including one in the New Yorker.

When he was 64 years of age Fred Pratt Green was co-opted onto a committee planning a supplement to the (English) Methodist Hymnal.
The Committee was desirous of having new hymns for themes such a Christian Unity.

Remembering that Fred Pratt Green was a poet, the Committee asked him to try his hand. Once started, he wrote over 300 hymns! It is never too late to start a new career, hobby or enterprise.


We are singing two of his hymns this morning.

“Lord, we have come at your own invitation” was written for a Confirmation service. I love the line “chosen by you to be counted as friends”. It reflects the teaching of Jesus who told his disciples that they were his friends. And the last stanza reminds us powerfully that we make choices between being creative or destructive people.

“When in our music God is glorified” is a splendid text on the power of music and hymns to shape our faith. There is a bit of history about the tune – it is called “Engelberg”.

Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote the tune we all know for the hymn “For all the Saints”, it’s called “Sine Nomine” (which means “without name” ) - (here I sang a bit of the tune).

He wrote it for a particular hymnal “The English Hymnal”, and for copyright reasons it was not allowed to be used in other hymn books for many years.

So Charles Villiers Stanford wrote “Engelwood” as an alternative - and (at least in England) we would use his tune when singing “For all the Saints”.

Now we sing it for "When in our music God is glorified" It is nice that this good tune has not been forgotten

And now that the copyright issues have been settled, we are allowed to sing “For All the Saints” to the “traditional” tune.


One of my favourite Fred Pratt Green hymns is “To mock your reign” – a wonderful text for Passion Sunday and Good Friday. It is in the Hymnal at #170, and perhaps you would care to follow along as I read it

To mock your reign, O dearest Lord,they made a crown of thorns;
set you with taunts along that road from which no one returns.
They did not know, as we do now,that glorious is your crown;
that thorns would flower upon your brow,
your sorrows heal our own.

In mock acclaim, O gracious Lord, they snatched a purple cloak,
your passion turned, for all they cared, into a soldier's joke.
They did not know, as we do now,that though we merit blame
you will your robe of mercy throw around our naked shame.

A sceptered reed, O patient Lord,they thrust into your hand,
and acted out their grim charade to its appointed end.
They did not know, as we do now,though empires rise and fall,
your Kingdom shall not cease to grow till love embraces all.

The hymn is set to the splendid “Third Tune” by Thomas Tallis, who lived in the 16th Century in England. Here is a fine congruence of an old tune to a new text.

Those of us who are familiar with classical music will remember that Ralph Vaughan Williams (he again!) wrote a gorgeous set of variations on this melody.

Not every sermon has to be challenging, so this has been a bit of a romp through some of my thoughts about hymn texts and tunes.

Thank you for allowing me to indulge one of my passions – I hope that you too will get excited about the words and music we sing each week.