Showing posts from February 11, 2018

Allan Rogers - superb Deacon, and Richard Baxter noble Puritan.

It was my sad duty this morning to attend the Funeral service for the Revd. Allan D. Rogers aged 68.

I say duty because the last thing I wanted to do was to be at the funeral of this good man.  But I was there because doing the right thing should be more important than doing simply what pleases me.

Allan was a Deacon par excellence, a faithful husband to his wife Holly through her long illness, a devoted father to their only child Sandie and her spouse Rebecca;  and a beloved Rogers family member (his parents and his two sisters yet live).

Equally important Allan was a passionate Christian, a worthy and trusty servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So many of us at St. Boniface Church in Sarasota also thought of Allan as a good friend during his fifteen years of service in the parish.

The Liturgy of the Episcopal Church served us well this morning. The familiar words of the Book of Common Prayer are an anchor in times of joy, and in times of unspeakable grief.

To my personal delight the opening …

Adventures with Uber

I chose to use UBER for my trip downtown and back yesterday.

It's fun to watch the graphic on my smart 'phone, showing the journey of the nearest available driver.

It's possible to see the wrong turns the driver takes, or  the U-turns she or he has to make because GPS/SatNav is not always reliable.  I watch, and want to say "no, no, not that way".

The driver on my first journey was chatty beyond belief.   I heard all about his wife and family, his hopes to buy a "fixer-upper" home, his dreams for his daughters, and his philosophy of life.

He was the quintessential first generation immigrant who wants no more than to earn, to save, to buy a home, and to make a better life for his family.

There was one wee problem. I sat in the front passenger seat, and every time he talked to me he turned to look at me, and not at the road ahead. I suppose that it's good that I was not seated in the rear, nevertheless the ride was a bit hairy. (And I kept my mouth shut ab…

A Lecture I attended today

It was sponsored by 
My ticket came via good friends Ron and Char who were unable to use their season ticket today.
The Lecture was given by

Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter and editor and Emmy award-winning producer/correspondent, is one of America's most distinguished journalists. His current best-seller, Who Stole the American Dream?, is a portrait of the past 30 years of U.S. political and economic history. 

In 26 years with The New York Times, Mr. Smith served in Saigon, Cairo, Paris, and as bureau chief in Moscow and Washington. In 1971 he was on the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for the Pentagon Papers series. In 1974 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe. 

Smith's Lecture was titled "How Has President Trump Delivered for His Constituents? "

The answer is "very well" if you are a part of Trump's Core 

Constituency: White Evangelicals, White Males without a College 

Degree, and the rur…

Psst. Don't tell anyone

Psst.  Don't tell anyone  that I went to Church today, for the first time since May 2017 (Except for a  September Sunday in the U.K. when I attended Christ Church, Downend, Bristol, with my good friends Colin and Lorraine).

I seem to have lost the point of Church attendance, and I do not miss it.

But today is Ash Wednesday

so I took myself to Sarasota's downtown Episcopal Church  (the Church of the Redeemer).

Redeemer is very conservative and high church and will not allow Women Priests, so it could not be my regular Parish.

But this low church liberal attends there every Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  The early service (7:00 a.m. today) proceeds without fuss and bother, it is gentle and serene.

And I like and respect the Rector, Fred Robinson.  He and I have this tender bond -  we know that we'll see each other at least twice a year.  We find this to be lovingly amusing.

I am not crazy about "The Imposition of Ashes". 

Notwithstanding this the Litany of Penitence from …

Mardi Gras/Carnival/Shrove Tuesday

The day before Ash Wednesday

Known in exuberant communities   as "Mardi Gras" (Fat Tuesday) a day to enjoy fatty foods before the Lenten Fast, or as "Carnival" (farewell to meat) for the same reasons.

In more austere places it is "Shrove Tuesday", a day to be shriven (absolved) from sin before the austerities of Lent.

In the U.K. and Commonwealth countries it has the more prosaic and practical name of "Pancake Day", or "Pancake Tuesday" (using up eggs and fat before Lent).  **  More about this below.

I should have eaten a wonderful Rib Eye steak today with its delicious fatty veins, perhaps with chips (French Fries) cooked in Lard.

Instead I made a more restrained batch of Black Bean soup (with pearl onions).

Chris Mazdzer rocks, and my sudden interest in the 2018 Winter Olympics. (and a Baptism!)

Chris Mazdzer won the Silver Medal for the Men's Single Luge in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea, a fabulous achievement.

I am not a great fan of sports so it took a while before I realised that I know Chris's parents.

They (Dr. Ed Mazdzer and Marty Lawthers) were great and gracious parishioners when I was the Rector at St. Stephen's, Pittsfield MA.

Ed. a gentle and gracious man, was doing his residency (?) in Neurology  at the Berkshire Medical Centre.

Marty is  a brilliant, joyful, and wise woman who enhanced our Parish life.

We  were so sad for us and glad for them  when they  left Pittsfield so that Ed. could establish his practice in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

I am 99% certain that I baptised the future Olympic Champion at St. Stephen's Parish in Pittsfield.

I cannot remember the ceremony itself and I bet the same is true of Chris!

But I am so happy for Ed and Marty, and for Chris, his twin younger sisters, and his girl friend who are in Korea even as I write.

Lucrezia Borgia 1480-1519 A woman to admire.

"History is written by the winners".  They were mostly male. They often got it wrong. They damned Lucrezia Borgia because of her family.

Lucrezia Borgia (1480 - 1519) was the daughter of  Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia who became Pope Alexander VI,  and his mistress Vannozza dei Cattaniel  (also the mother by Alexander of Lucrezia's brother Cesari).

The Borgias,  ( in truth "Borjas", of Spanish heritage. from Valencia) were viewed as outsiders and with disdain by the Italian nobility.

Father Rodrigo and son Cesari Borgia were power crazed, violent, sexually cruel and avaricious.  And they were patrons of the arts!

As Pope, Rodrigo Borgia, now Alexander VI, was the head of the Catholic Church, and the head of the Papal States.

He was not much interested in religion, but he used his role as Pope to make money for his own wealth, (selling Bishoprics and Cardinal's hats etc).

He was chiefly concerned with defence and enlargement of the Papal States, and his own political po…