Showing posts from January 3, 2010

From a liberalist

When and why, in popular culture, did Muslims get to be called Islamists?

Should Christians be called Christianists?

Should  Jews be called Jewists (or perhaps Judaists)?

Just a thought from a Liberalist Christianist Homosexualist.

England? Britain? Great Britain? The U.K.?

Here is a remarkable satellite image of  a snow covered Great Britain, taken on 7th January 2010. I lifted it from a BBC website.

The BBC correctly identified it as “Great Britain”.

Here’s the dope.

“Great Britain” is a geographical term which refers to the western european island which includes England, Scotland and Wales.

“Britain” is an historical word which far antedates the emergence of Scotland and England as nations.

The “British Isles” is another geographical term. It refers to Great Britain, and to the many small islands off the coasts of England, Scotland and Wales.

Historical and geographically Ireland is also a “British Isle”, but for political reasons that reference has been dropped.

Scotland and England have been nation states – both were monarchies, and had parliaments.

Wales has never been a nation state: - in the sense that there never was a parliament which embraced the entire Welsh homeland. That homeland was, by hook or by crook, absorbed into the English kingd…

Clever, or crafty?

Each day I walk my dog “Penne” around a local pond. Each trip around the pond is 1/3 mile. We enter and leave on a walkway at the east end of the pond, and we always walk clockwise. Thus, when we enter or exit, we turn left from and to the walkway.

Penne loves to walk and is loathe to quit.

After the first 1/3 mile, as we approach the exit, she steadfastly turns her head to the right, and quickens her pace as if to say “if I cannot see the exit, it is not there”.

She does the same after the second circumnavigation, when we are at 2/3 mile.

At the end of the third trip she gives up, as if to say “I cannot push my luck, Michael will never consider a fourth trip”.

I am not sure if she is clever, or crafty - or a combination of both. But I smile at her “nerve”.

Epiphany 2009

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sore-footed,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their
liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the
lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns
And the villages dirty and charging high
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears,
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a
temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of
With a running stream and a water-mill
beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse gal…

Name dropping, friends, and the joy of a child.

Life has given me some wonderful friends, and wonderful days.

“Tinka” Perry (see yesterday’s blog) is staying with me. She and I took off in our conversation where we “left off” a number of years ago.

We’ve not seen each other today. She slept in whilst I shoved off to St. Boniface. By the time I got home, Tinka was at the funeral of her friend’s father.

Today I was at the regular Tuesday morning Eucharist at St. Boniface, and the bible study for ordained ministers, which follows the service. We welcomed a guest who, in Christian circles, is a well known theologian – Prof. Harvey Cox. It so happens that Prof. Cox became a friend whilst I was in Cambridge, so we hooked up again today. The other ministers were delighted/awed to have him share in our studies. Then he and I had lunch together, and the opportunity to get caught up.

His daughter lives in Pittsfield, and she knows my Congregational colleague the Revd. Rick Floyd, so we were also able to enjoy some Pittsfield chatte…

How I came to be here ( 2nd of 2 posts today, see # 1 below))

I have uploaded a “new” photo’ on my face book profile.  I cropped it from this photo’, which was taken in 1975.

We are pictured at the now closed Bement Camp and Conference Centre in Charlton, MA.  We had been there for a week of training to equip us to lead vacation church school in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

As a result of a friendship with an American seminarian who studied with me at St. John’s Theological College, Nottingham, U.K. his Bishop (the late Alexander D. Stewart) invited me to join one of two vacation church school teams for that summer. We led programmes in the cities of Greenfield, Worcester, Northboro’, and Oxford, MA.

Bishop Stewart liked me well enough to invite me back the next year to serve initially for two years at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fitchburg, MA.  The rest is history and I am still here.

I made some what proved to be lasting friendships that year.  One such was with the Revd. Gwen W Sears, with whom I served for 16 years in Pittsfield,…

A silly looking man (First of two posts today)


Simplicity at All Angels by the Sea, Longboat Key, FL

Episcopalians place great stock in their parish “Coffee Hour”, a time of refreshments which usually follows the later service on any Sunday morning. We sometimes refer to it as “the third sacrament” (after baptism and eucharist).

I’ve attended coffee hours which included sherry or wine with cheese and crackers. In some parishes I’ve endured crummy coffee in a styrofoam cup with ancient cookies.

At St. James’s, Cambridge, MA where I was rector from 2000-2006 “coffee hour” offered such excellent comestibles that I (and many others) were happy to skip lunch when we arrived at home.

At All Angels by the Sea on Longboat Key, FL this morning the food at coffee hour was both simple and entirely delicious. Our hosts provided good bread and butter, with excellent preserves (jams).

Wow oh wow! Good slices of baguette type bread, with fruit-filled preserves. Who could ask for anything more.