Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beautifully Understated

Since the day I first discovered Anglicanism, I have appreciated one thing about its particular aesthetic, and that is how it likes to speak in reserved tones, with all things beautifully understated.

So, imagine my delight to read the following words from the The Rt. Rev’d Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., bishop of the Diocese of Michigan, in commenting on EDOMI's current financial woes:1
We are in a different financial place than where we were even 6 short months ago.
I cannot help picturing a group of Episcopal bishops, gathered together indaba-ing in the Afterlife, when one bishop offers in a solemn tone:
We are in a warmer place than heretofore.

1The letter from Bishop Gibbs goes on to say: The reality is that our anticipated revenue for 2009 and beyond will not exceed $2,000,000 annually (and may actually be less as we have not yet received all of the 2008 Parochial Reports that were due on March 1). We currently have a budget of $2,985,835.

So, EDOMI has a budget of about $3 Million, with projected revenues of less than $2 Million.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lenten Thoughts of a High Anglican

Here is a poem I like, appropriate to the season, from John Betjeman.

Lenten Thoughts of a High Anglican

Isn't she lovely, "the Mistress"?
With her wide-apart grey-green eyes,
The droop of her lips and, when she smiles,
Her glance of amused surprise?

How nonchalantly she wears her clothes,
How expensive they are as well!
And the sound of her voice is as soft and deep
As the Christ Church tenor bell.

But why do I call her "the Mistress"
Who know not her way of life?
Because she has more of a cared-for air
Than many a legal wife.

How elegantly she swings along
In the vapoury incense veil;
The angel choir must pause in song
When she kneels at the altar rail.

The parson said that we shouldn't stare
Around when we come to church,
Or the Unknown God we are seeking
May forever elude our search.

But I hope that the preacher will not think
It unorthodox and odd
If I add that I glimpse in "the Mistress"
A hint of the Unknown God.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Video - "I am Episcopalian"

This video is the most beautiful, funniest, and truest thing I have ever seen regarding The Episcopal church.

If you only watch one video I post this year, make this the one!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Impacted Fecal Matter

No, no ... I promise ... this is not another post about The Episcopal church.

I just want to tell you that there is huge money to be made by telling people false things they wish were true.

I have been getting a lot of spam emails lately regarding colon cleansing. You know, the ones that tell you the real reason you are overweight has nothing to do with your diet or lack of exercise. It is all due to the 25 pounds (or more) of IFM (impacted fecal matter), stuck like spackle to the walls of your intestines. If you buy the product, it will all be flushed out, and you will no longer be fat!

It's absurd. The people who fall for this kind of scam can grab the fat on their bellies (and elsewhere), knead it in their hands, and see with their own eyes that it is external body fat that is the problem. Snopes and other anti-hoax sites have attempted to add a dash of sanity to the conversation.

But, you see. It's not about the facts. It's about desire. And here, the desire is to believe that one's current diet is okay, when it is not. That one's current exercise plan is sufficient in both intensity and frequency, when in fact it is woefully inadequate. It's all about what they want to be true. They don't want it to be their fault. And they will pay for the easy fix.

I would venture to say that most or all heresies are like this as well. Each represents a divergence from the Christian faith, motivated by something that the doctrinal innovator desperately wishes were true. In the end, though, we all have to step on the scale. And the truth will be known.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Walking Lunges

Walking lunges have not been tried and found wanting; they have been found difficult and not tried.

I borrowed this quote from G. K. Chesterton. Okay, he didn't really say this about walking lunges; he said it about Christianity. But up until 2008, in my case at least, it had been true about lunges, walking or otherwise. Here is what a walking lunge looks like:

My coaches cause me to do three sets of twenty per leg, alternating between the left and the right leg. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I've always avoid doing lunges because, as Chesterton noted about Christianity, they are difficult! At first, I couldn't even stay balanced; I would fall over sideways, like the guy does in the second have of this "Goofus and Gallant" walking lunge video. But even after I could stay balanced, cranking out twenty reps per leg was and is very hard for me. Because of the weakness I have ... from avoiding lunges in the past.

When I step onstage again in July, I expect my vastus medialis muscles to be significantly improved over last year. Much of this improvement can be credited to the walking lunge.

It is the same thing in the spiritual life: Sometimes the particular kind of spiritual exercise we shun the most is the very thing that would benefit us most.

Friday, March 13, 2009

T-Shirt Contest Winners!

First Prize goes to Jill C:

"Here we come, walking down the beach . . . hey, hey we're the Primates!"

Honorable mention goes to Rick H., for this fine entry ...

"I thought you said that YOU were bringing the boogie boards."

"No, your grace, I asked you if YOu were bringning them and I distinctly heard you say that you were all over it."

Thanks to EVERYONE who sent in an entry! I myself had thought of some J. Alfred Prufrock spinoff, such as:

I shall wear magenta vestments, and walk upon the beach ...

Anyhow, if you winners would consult the sizes available, as seen in this post, and then contact me (paul @ anglicanbeachparty dot com) ... I'll get your T-shirts sent out to you!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hot Rod Anglican Photo Caption Contest

Best caption for this one gets a free Hot Rod Anglican T-shirt ...

This is one photograph that just screams Anglican Beach Party!

Windex Hymnody

A couple of Sundays ago, the roads were too icy to go to our home parish. So, we made our 2nd expotition (for this Winter) to the somewhat nearer AMiA parish. There, we sung this hymn:

Shine Jesus shine
Fill this land with the Father's glory.
Blaze Spirit blaze
Set our hearts on fire.
Flow river flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth your word
Lord and let there be light.

In the car on the way home, we unanimously decided that this song was "lifted" from a Windex™ commercial. Yes, we are Church-music snobs.

As in:

Shine Windex™ shine
Leave our windows and mirrors spotless.
Spray Windex™ spray
Wash our streaks away.
Flow Windex™ flow
With your new, improved no-drip nozzle.
Send forth your stream
Windex™ let in the light.

We do love the AMiA parish. The priest there is a poet of extraordinary talent (and, as a poetry snob, I don't say that very often!), and the folks are just excellent Christians. But we can only take so much 1970s Youth Group worship music.

Does that make us bad Anglicans?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Episcopalianism and Buddhism are Very Much Alike.

G. K. Chesterton once wrote:
Students of popular science, like Mr. Blatchford, are always insisting that Christianity and Buddhism are very much alike, especially Buddhism. This is generally believed, and I believed it myself until I read a book giving the reasons for it. The reasons were of two kinds: resemblances that meant nothing because they were common to all humanity, and resemblances which were not resemblances at all.
Of course, Christianity and Buddhism are as nearly opposite as is possible. The Episcopal "church" doesn't get that. But this guy does ... (Hat Tip: Baby Blue)

Christianity and Buddhism are not compatible. But The Episcopal "church" and Buddhism are compatible ... because TEc is not even remotely Christian any longer.