Showing posts from June 27, 2010

On the cusp of 4th July 2010 (2) It's not only the military

I have a great respect for the men and women of the American Armed Forces. I claim two U.S. Navy Captains (both retired) as my friends, and I pray for, and correspond with two of my friends who are serving in Afghanistan.

I honour our military. I do so especially on Memorial Day and on Veteran’s Day.

Now comes Independence Day. It’s a fabulous day for Americans, one on which we pause to give thanks (to God) for our independence and freedoms.

It’s a day on which I always read the Declaration of Independence.

But it irks me when I am told that the only defenders of liberty are the good women and men of our Armed Forces. I thank goodness for them...

... but I also thank goodness for the poets, preachers, philosophers, politicians (yes politicians), playwrights and publishers who have worked to secure our liberty.

I thank goodness for the union leaders, civil rights martyrs, and brave civic leaders who have fought and even died for freedom.

I thank goodness for school teachers, nur…

On the cusp of 4th July 2010 (1) John Winthrop

John Winthrop’s address on the boat called “Arbella”, in 1630.   He was speaking to the would be colonists of New England.Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, (the shipwreck of God’s judgement -  jmp) and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.

For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others' necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others' conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell amon…

Jesus nominated the U.S. Supreme Court

A Democratic Party President nominated Jesus of Nazareth to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. 
Republican Senators were outraged. They complained that:

1. He consistently and constantly re-interpreted the law.
2. He had nothing to say against sodomy.
3. He was opposed to divorce (even for the rich).
4. He was soft on sin, and refused to condemn sinners.
5. He taught that people should care for the poor, the naked, the prisoners, the hungry etc.
6. He had little respect for family values, and was quite scathing about his birth family.
7. He fed the “unworthy” hungry.
8. He told folks to love their enemies.
9. He was unemployed for three years.
10. He was in favour of paying taxes.
11. He thought that foreigners were as worthy as were his native people.
12. He consorted with an enemy Roman Centurion.
13. .He said “let your yes be yes”, and “let your no be no”. (The Republicans at least liked the “no” bit).

Every Republican Senator thought t…

The tragedy of the Confederate Flag.

From 1861 onwards 13 states seceded from the United States of America.  They were:Alabama, Arkansas, FloridaGeorgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North CarolinaSouth CarolinaTennesseeTexas and Virginia.  Their reasons for succession were varied.  For some it was a matter of property rights (e.g. if you moved from a slave state to a free state did your right to own slaves (property) move with you). Others asserted that the U.S. was a “federation” of sovereign states which they had freely entered and could freely leave.  (That’s the big question for the European Union these days.  It is not clear whether it is a union of sovereign states, or a federation of like minded states).
Another state seceded on the basis that the election of Abraham Lincoln would lead to tyranny (not unrealistic given the fact that in due course Lincoln partly suspended “Habeas Corpus”.) The 13 States eventually came together in a Federation, known as the “Confederate States of America”,…


Honest to goodness - I am almost perfectly comfortable with aging. It is irresistible!

But I do miss my hair and its colour! Photo’ dates from circa 1964

"I spy" --- danger

Who would have guessed it?  “They” are all around us.  “They” are those dangerous spies. That nice Mr. Cook lives just a few doors away.  We all believed that he was a retired piano teacher.  It turns out that he is a Latvian spy.  He has spent the past 15 years snooping out all the local restaurants, and then sending facsimiles of their menus to his masters in Riga. Then there is Mr. Marlin who has a fine fish market here in Sarasota, on North-East Osprey Street. I could always buy the very best haddock or cod at his place. Believe it or not, Mr. Marlin has been exposed as a spy from the Canadian Province of Newfoundland. His spy-masters have been told about every pound/half kilo of haddock and cod which I have bought. I blame myself. I did not pay attention. Mr. Cook’s first name is Joshua.  Mr. Marlin is actually Caleb Marlin. The bible should have warned me.  Now I have to worry about Mr. Pope who lives but a few blocks away. He attends an Episcopal Church, but always takes his holidays…

Racism and the World Cup

I believe that my loyalty to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as reported in the four gospels of the Christian tradition is prior to other loyalties. Indeed it is superior to them.

Thus my immediate loyalties are

1. To the wonderful Nation of my birth, the United Kingdom.
2. To the fabulous Nation of my citizenship, the United States of America.
3. To the amorphous and international peoples known as the Christian Church.

I love all three and I am grateful for them. But when “push comes to shove”, my sense of loyalty to Christian brothers and sisters of many nations (#3) trumps my loyalty to the nations of my birth and citizenship. This is why I believe that nationalism and racial pride are so silly and un-productive.

My Dad and Mum taught me some of this.

Dad worked in the building trade as a skilled plumber. There he encountered many unskilled Irish labourers. He thought that they were great. So Dad could not countenance any anti-Irish attitudes or jokes. He knew that peopl…

Sermon for 27th June 2010, The Revd. J. Michael Povey at St. Boniface Church, Sarasota, FL

Sermon for 27th June 2010, The Revd. J. Michael Povey at St. Boniface Church, Sarasota, FL 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14; Galatians 5: 1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” The Church sound system played about 45 seconds’ worth of a recording of the bells at Taize from the C.D. “Ubi Caritas”: GIA recordings 1996, Then I said The bells begin their clamour from atop a free standing belfry.  They sound very much like ours. There are five of them.  These are in France, in a lovely part of Burgundy. The ringing bells sound an alert, calling people to prayer, calling them to a huge barn of a place called the Church of the Resurrection.  First a trickle, then a flood of people make their way to the Church.  There could be 8,000 of them.  Of that 8,000 at least 7,000 would be under the age of 35. To enter into the Church as I did in 1999 is to enter into a great play, a wonderful drama. All eyes are focussed on the back-…