Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On the Feast of Jerome

From the Book of Common Prayer:

O Lord, O God of truth, your Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give you thanks for your servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we pray that your Holy Spirit will overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, will transform us according to your righteous will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today is the Feast of Saint Jerome. A day to celebrate a faithful servant, and a day to poke a finger in the eye of Jack Chick, who in his insane hatred of all things Catholic, has chosen to vilify one who desired to bring the Word of God into the language of his countrymen.

Jerome was born to Christian parents in AD 340, in the regions of contemporary Slovenia or Croatia. In his early adulthood, it was clear the the LORD was calling Jerome based on his own account and he soon entered into Theological studies as he traveled through the crumbling Roman Empire.

In the waning years of the fourth century, Jerome receive his ordination through Paulinus of Antioch, then found his way to Constantinople where he became a pupil of Gregory of Naziatus. As he matured in the faith and in his calling, Jerome levied a major critique against Pelagius and emergent Pelagianism. Adding to this Saint Jerome levied major criticism against the Origensim of John II of Jerusalem.

Funny, hardly the villan of Chickensian lore. Anyhoo, enjoy your Wednesday and consider the blessing of having God's Word in your native tongue.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Music to seed your Dreams

2002 touches a chord that few artists have reached. Enjoy their Nocturne...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Held to a Higher Standard

Its funny now for me to think that once upon a time, I was a slim eighteen year-old Airman sweating my appendages off in the blistering San Antonio sun. Ensconced in cotton, OD fatigues and marching everywhere with the exception of the latrine, my life and immediate future were in the hands of a granite-chinned Training Instructor (DI for you Leathernecks and Army types) who regulated every waking moment of my life. My dad described to the searing power of the Training Instructor (edited) as one who would bark "Defecate!" To wit, you'd respond "Where, and how much Sergeant?" His word was final and his terror seemingly omnipresent yet unlike my Flight-mates, I would only have to endure 21 days of Basic Training bliss instead of the requisite 42. Blackmail? Graft? No, something better.

Along with another Flight-mate, I was a "Bypass Candidate", or one who qualified for an accelerated Basic Training Regimen. This sound like quite the deal; bailing out of Lackland as an E-3/Airman First Class early to get on with your training. While your bunkie and fellow recruits were pounding the pavement, you were off to briefings and other appointments. While they were saddled with the mundane, you pursued the meaningful. You see though, as Mr. Crane reminds us, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Being, and maintaining Bypass status hung on some significant presuppositions. First, you were expected to already possess and continually demonstrate the competencies of gained through Air Force Basic Training. Posers and pretenders would quickly be seen for who they were. In order to thin the Bypass herd, one faced stringent testing within their first full week. There was the red line inspection and the written examination. A close order drill test was conducted with wiggle room meaning, your heels had best be together along with your uniform. Completing this program was a zero-sum prospect; failure in any aspect would cause the suspension of training and reassignment to day one of Air Force basic. This might well seem brutal by today's slacker standards, but it reflected a solidly Biblical construct: TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH IS REQUIRED.

Participating within the bypass program could well have been, and likely was viewed a a seat of privilege. Not so much, it was a seat of responsibility.

For some, this essay may be an exercise in WTH, yet I can look at this moment in history and compare it to a coming paradigm shift in the very near future. I'm alluding to life after November 7th.

The imposition of the Deacon's stole is in a real sense, the imposition of a servant's yoke. It represents a moment when not only has the anointing of 2,000 years been bestowed, it represents the moment when our LORD places one's counsel and words under a higher power lens. All of our words matter and Scripture reminds us that no idle word will escape examination on that Day of the Lord. All, from the poet laureate to the village idiot will give an account. Yet those who would be teachers will have their words evaluated with a brighter light and a finer comb.

Welcome to St James, Chapter 3.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jetting North

It's been a rush season for travel over these past few weeks, and I've spent far more nights in a bed other than my own. Three of the past six weeks have been spent in Florida and of course there was the desert trek out into the Nevada wilderness. Suffice to say that a return to life in Suburbia Majora will be a welcome change as the days begin to wane and the nights begin to chill.

Spending evenings alone and sitting at "tables for one" allow for plenty of reflection. True, there are plenty of distractions ranging from the benign to the destructive. When we kick these all aside and purpose to have deliberate quiet, these times can be rewarding.

I've given time over the past two weeks to contemplate life after November 7th. At one level, nothing will change. I'll still be fighting the battle against age, decrepitude, and gravity. I'll still be fighting off the "dunlap's", (that condition where your stomach "done laps" over your belt), and the temptation to lie in bed longer than I need to. Yet other things will surely change.

Joining the James 3 club rates among these. I'll pick up on this on the other side of the flight. For now, enjoy the ride.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

On a Rainy Thursday Night

I've always been a fan of Supertramp and this song. At first, I wasn't able to put my finger on it but after some study, it became clear that the tune took me towards the admonition of Christ Jesus' half-brother James:

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27-28 (NIV)

We may (and rightly should) strongly contend for the faith once delivered. Its clear that there are parties, useful idiots and the witting, whose mission is to re-image the Historic, Orthodox faith into something that's "out there". This is "meet and right", but we can never loose sight of the outward expression, and physical mission of our faith.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who's afraid of Glen Beck?

Making my rounds through the blogosphere and Visiting a leftist Episcopal Blog, I saw that Mr. Glen Beck has retained his Boogieman Du Jour status. Though I don't find this surprising as Episcopal blogs of this stripe are as scripted and predictable as the tide, I do find it interesting. Like Ron Paul, Walter Williams, Ilana Mercer, Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell or a chorus of others; anyone who makes enough noise through cogent, incisive statements will be noticed and predictably reviled.

But who the heck is Beck?

After reading Glen Beck's bio, its clear that he has experienced a lifetime of tragedy and was wrenched back from the brink of hell. He found solace and meaning through a relationship with his redeemer and the LDS church. Personally, I'd like to have a meal with Glen and introduce him to Anglicanism, but that's an essay for another day... Anyway, I'm starting to digress. His LDS sympathies aside, Glen Beck is a good guy, and an honest broker. He speaks from a passion that can't be faked or feigned. His words are the hearts cry of a man who loves his country, and loves his countrymen.

There are some things that, however, are missed in the mix. Out of the gate, Glen Beck is clearly a Christian Libertarian/Constitutionalist. This is to say that he clearly holds to a line of thinking that is rooted in a Judeo-Christian consensus and is very similar to the zeitgeist of our founding fathers. He has no time for the revisioning of the American dream by the far-left. Equally, Glen is no cheerleader for neoconservatives or the spendthrift republicans who bastardized the party of Lincoln and Reagan.

In a real sense, Glen Beck is the young man with the audacity to say that the Emperor is naked, regardless of whether the Emperor is riding an Pachyderm or Jackass.

My personal thoughts concerning the man are relatively simple. Like Ed Rendell, Glen is a good guy; he loves his country and wants the best for his progeny. Like me, Glen is fallen and in need of a redeemer. His statements are neither anathema nor infallible. Take what he says and weigh them in the balance of common sense and plumb them against the straight stick of Scripture.

Some grist for your mill.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tonight we're gonna party like its 1999...

I was a fan of Vertical Horizon, and really hoped they be more than a one CD wonder...

The Clock is Ticking

Funny, I was looking a the calendar; Seven sundays from today, I'll be celebrating my first Eucharist as Deacon. This will be nothing short of a moment of life actualization. Thoughts on this will be forthcoming this week.

Sunday on the Space Coast

Its been a good day to be hanging out on the Space Coast. Temperatures and dewpoints have been pretty much straight out of the weather textbook for Central Florida.

The morning kicked off with a visit to Prince of Peace Anglican Church (PoP) in Viera, a community tat sits about ten miles north of Melbourne that rests between I-95 and the Indian River. This parish's primary affiliation lies with the Anglican Mission in America, or AMIA. PoP apparently was born out of St. John's Melbourne and has existed as a separate entity. In this time, PoP has grown into a healthy, thriving body that stands on the uncompromising truth of God's Word, while throwing their doors and their arms wide open in the spirit and love of the Christ. Far from being "Angry-cans", this family of saints has a grip on what it means to live out their faith in our new millennium.

PoP is shepherded by Father Gary Echols and three capable Deacons. Additionally, the parish has an active lay leadership core.

I highly recommend this Parish to anyone visiting or relocating to the Brevard/Melbourne area as an outstanding community in which to live out your faith.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let's go back to 1986 on a Thursday Night

C'mon Guyz, The Gipper was our Chief Executive, the Dollar was King in Europe and we were about to put the Soviet Union up on the ropes with our Pershing II and GLCM deployments. We were a superpower and had no reason to apologize to the world. Too, we weren't throwing our allies under the bus for no good reason.

Once more, its time to overthrow the tyrants and declare with one voice: "Americanium, Factum non Verba".

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reverie in Ember Week

Rich was taken from us way too soon.

Consider the greatness, awesomeness and all-in-all of our God. Our language fails in delivering the laud, honor and glory that is to be ascribed to the architect of creation, and author of our redemption.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Deacon's Anthem

Another "Deacon's Anthem"

Somewhere in the Troposphere

Its 7:19 PM on a Sunday evening and I’m sailing through the troposphere, slicing the airstream at some subsonic speed on the way to a two week class in Melbourne, FL. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an upgrade, which had previously been waitlisted. This afforded a roomier seat for my skinny little frame. The grapes, cheese and china teacups were too were a nice as well. There’s an overcast ceiling down below, perhaps ten or so thousand few below the United Airlines 757.

After ruminating over Father Toby’s sermon, I broke out the iPod and dug for some ear food, since the Captain had elected no to make the cockpit audio available to the cabin. The menu fell on Randy Stonehill’s song, “Starlings”,a powerful song that in my estimation could easily be the “Deacon’s Anthem”. The song speaks of the birds brought to the new world by someone who wanted to have a piece of their former home in their new homeland. These birds quickly adapted to their new digs and became an invasive nuisance.

The second stanza moves to consider those who, unfortunately, have come to be viewed as the “human starlings”. The lyrics go something like this:

Riding with my family in a '58 Buick
I can still recall
How we'd drive through the valley
To my Grandmother's house
Every summer vacation
When I was small
And I'd gaze out the window
At the farms and the orchards
And the sound of our motor
Would frighten the starlings
And they'd rise from the fields to fly
My mother would grumble
"Those birds are a curse
They're a thorn in the farmers" side
But I couldn't help feeling sad and inspired
By their desperate ballet in the sky

Say a prayer for the starlings
A hot, dry wind beats their ragged wings
Have a thought for the starlings
No one ever listens to the songs they sing
Say a prayer for the starlings
There's no welcome for them anywhere
Leave some crumbs for the starlings
They say that Winter will be cold this year

She was sitting on a curb by the Seven Eleven®
She asked if I had some spare change
Her skin wore that leathered and windburned look
And the light in her blue eyes was wild and strange
I sat down beside her and asked her her name
She said, "pick one you like, I need something to eat"
And her life made me think
Of the dead leaves in Autumn
Drifting like ghosts down the street

Is the life that we celebrate only a dream
A lie that we serve like a god made of stone
And our hearts are the hunter
Birds with no nesting place
Weary and aching for home


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

November 7, 2009 -- A Turn in the River

So there I was, Checking my e-mails and deleting the many "Pharmaceutical" e-mails when a two-worded subject line leaped off the screen, "CANA Ordination". I read on.

Dear Andrew,

Bishop Minns has approved you for ordination on November 7, 2009 at Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia. We praise God for what He has done in your life, for your commitment to Christ and for the ministry ahead of you in CANA. Our prayers are with you as you prepare to take your ordination vows.


“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20

In Christ,


(The text has been slightly edited, removing some administrative information, and e-mail addresses in the spirit of privacy.)

Reading the text filled me with a sense of elation and and trepidation. Elation in the sense of an effervescent joy that welled up at the sense that the prayers, studies, examinations, and the waiting of the past four years were all now coming to their fruition. There was now a date marked on the calendar, the feast of Saint Willibrord of Utrecht (or November 7th in more common parlance), where my soul would receive the blessing handed down by Christ Himself to His own Apostles by means of the laying on of hands by either Bishop Minns or Bishop Bena.

On the heels of joy came a sudden fear. This wasn't a phobic moment but rather, a sudden dread that seems to strike those suddenly in the presence of the Almighty. I believe that at its core, is a sense that one is about to enter into the most holy moment of their life to date.
When Isaiah entered this moment, he could only say "woe is me for I'm ruined." Saint Peter was recorded as proclaiming "Go from me Lord, for I'm a sinful man." Even the God-fearing Centurion sensed his utter unworthiness to stand in the presence of the Divine.

There is a comfort and confidence to quash this dread. Christ's atoning death, resurrection and ascension, and the Father's election has allowed those in Christ to stand in His presence. It's not us, no in and of our selves we're still waterlogged turds worthy of the eternal flush. Yet in Christ and through Christ, we can enter into the presence of the Mighty One in the faith of knowing that we won't be smoking ash.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Timeless... after 25 years

The Fire still burns white hot...

she moves like a mysticlike a priestess tall and pale
she lays down the mysteryall her secrets are unveiled
wherever I look I see her there
wherever I go you know she's there
and she takes posession she has control
next to you I can touch the fire
and when the fever takes a holdnext to you I can touch the fire

her words fall in echosringing bells like gypsy rhymes
she has the powerno believer can explain
wherever I look I see her there
wherever I go you know she's there
and she takes posession she has control
next to you I can touch the fire
and when the fever takes a hold
next to you I can touch the fire
I feel the heat pumping in my veins
next to you I can touch the fire
I see myself going up in flames
next to you I can touch the fire

wherever I look I see her there
wherever I go you know she's there
she takes posessionshe has control
next to you I can touch the fire
and when the fever takes a hold
next to you I can touch the fire

I feel the heat pumping in my veins
next to you I can touch the fire
I see myself going up in flames
next to you I can touch the fire

she takes posession touch the firetouch the fire
I feel the heat pumping in my veins
next to you I can touch the fire
I see myself going up in flames
next to you I can touch the fire

The Desert

Those who know me know that last week, I spent time in the Nevada Desert. I've been in many states, countries and a variety of climates. None have matched the Desert. My time in the Desert verged on a Sacramental moment, and I'll be touching on this is the next few days.

Credo, Our Declaration of Faith

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae,
et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,
qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine,
passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,
descendit ad ínferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,
ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Patris omnipotentis,
inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem,
remissionem peccatorum,
carnis resurrectionem,
vitam aeternam.

...Or, In the Lingua Anglica...

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Thursday, September 03, 2009