Showing posts from July 3, 2011

Chet who?

When I moved to these United States in 1976 I would utter a wry chuckle at the time of presidential elections.  It seemed that Americans were hoping to elect a new George Washington every four years.
Washington is of course at the top of most people’s list of “the greats”. (Not that he was without fierce critics in his own day.)
We've had very few great presidents.   We’ve also had some downright bad ones!
Most of our presidents have been “fair to middling”.
With that in mind I have been reading a series of presidential biographies (from Times Books “The American Presidents” series, edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger, JR.),  concentrating on the "lesser knowns"
I’ve just finished reading about Chester Arthur and Grover Cleveland.
Chester Arthur, born in Vermont in 1829 was a bon vivant, a gourmand and a (*) lover of fine things.  He became very wealthy as a result of his appointment as Collector of Custom in New York City ( 1871) 
He was the compromise choice of a divided republic…

Out and about today

In between heavy rains I have been out and about today.  Here are some photo's from my neighbourhood.

Hatched, Matched and Despatched. The privileges of ordained women and men

In the absence of a Rector at St. Boniface Church, Sarasota FL, (he retired) and with the vacation of St. Boniface’s wonderful Assistant Rector Andrea Taylor, it has fallen to my lot to officiate at a funeral on Sunday evening for Kathryn Stickney.
I have been privileged to get to know Kathy Stickney in the final months of her life, and to pray with her and her family as she moved towards death (which she welcomed).
It will also be my privilege to be “back in the saddle” for the service.  We’ll all pray together in St. Boniface’s Chapel, and then pray again as her cremated remains are lovingly placed in the parish columbarium.
Being a clergyman is not always great.  We, the ordained are a strange breed.  
But with all of my ordained friends I rejoice that we are able to be present with many people in the great turning points of their lives: births, marriages, divorces, graduations, illnesses and deaths, as well as the more mundane week by week tasks of praying and preaching at Sunday serv…

As I walked out

Jim Crow lives again. From the words of a Mayor in Alabama

American Independence Day 2011

This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,

And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;

may peace abound where strife has raged so long;
that each may seek to love and build together,
a world united, righting every wrong;
a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.

 (Lloyd Stone  1934)

**Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson

My grumpiness about this year’s Fourth of July celebrations got off the ground when, earlier in the week, I was at my local convenience store. There I encountered a Budweiser Beer “promotion” for the Fourth.It's Budweiser Week! Get your drink on, and support our troops! Yes indeed, if I bought some bottles of Bud and after drinking the contents I returned the bottle tops to the store, then Budweiser would donate 10c per top (big deal) “for the troops”.  How and when Budweiser would use this money to “support the troops” was not made clear.I guess they wanted us feel patriotic by purchasing their beer.  The next day I was at my preferred supermarket “Sweetbay”.  There, at the checkout I was asked if I wished to purchase some ground coffee to “support the troops”.The deal was that if I bought two packs of coffee, then put one of them in a bin, “Sweetbay” would make sure that all the donated coffee was sent “to the troops”.  It was not made clear if these troops would be in Iraq or Il…