Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our Visit to St. Gabriel's Anglican Church, Springdale, Arkansas!

On April 3, 2011, the family and I made a visit to St. Gabriel's Anglican Church in Springdale, Arkansas. It was Rose Sunday.

I had been a FaceBook friend of the Rector, Fr. John Slavin, for some time, and was glad of the chance to finally meet him in person, as well as to worship at St. Gabriel's.

We dragged the kids out with us for the 9:00 am Adult Education class. It was a great class, nominally centered around a particular icon (the Hodegetria), but with a rich survey of background information including a review of the 5 historic Patriarchal sees (Jerusalem, Constantinople, Antioch, Rome, and Alexandria) and four levels of religion (belief, faith, experience, and transformation). Other interesting points of early church history were brought forward as well. The class was well attended. In my roamings through Anglicanism over the years, I have noticed that a healthy, vibrant Adult Ed program (that is actually attended!) goes hand in hand with robust worship.

Everything about the Holy Communion service was lovely. 1928 BCP, the Hymnal 1940, no funny stuff added, nothing subtracted. I particularly liked the Processional (Jesus, lover of my soul - #415) and Recessional (Lord, who throughout these forty days - #59) hymns!

I hate to harp on this point, but I really appreciate that the service wasn't interrupted by the all-too-common "Seventh Inning Stretch" (by which I mean the Passing of the Peace).  There was plenty of time for me and the family to shake hands with everyone after the service.

I was also very glad that incense was used during the service.  It made me feel right at home.

One thing that seems so simple gave Cindy and me particular joy: All of the readings were read, including the Old Testament lesson, which is not done everywhere.

The worship space was very attractive, and tastefully decorated:

Fr. John's sermon was very lively, to say the least.  Fr. John is a very dynamic person, and a very energetic speaker.  I thought to myself how he had pulled off the impossible:  a Baptist-length sermon delivered in only the time of a typical Anglican homily.  Winning!

The sermon focused on Ephesians 5 and, other than being a bit too personally convicting to me at parts, was great.  Fr. John explained some wrong ways (and then the right way) to look at St. Paul's commands, such as the edict to not associate with unbelievers.

As Providence would have it, we attended on a day when a potluck meal was scheduled after the service, and so we stayed for that, and were thankful for a great meal.  Finally, Fr. John took the time to show me around the grounds.  As he did so, he gave me some of the history of the parish and of his own involvement with it.  This is a cool little chapel they have out back, which has 24-hour access via a keypad on the door.

One thing more needs to be said, and to me it was perhaps the most encouraging thing about the entire visit:  There were plenty of young kids at this parish!  There is much reason to be hopeful for the future!  God is at work at St. Gabriel's.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bible in Miniature - the Christian Kitsch Art of Flo Boatright

This is the kind of thing you cannot (until now) find by staring into your computer screen.  You have to go out into the vast, wind torn center of Route 66 America to find this stuff.  The artist, Flo Boatright, apparently made her way through life without herself or her art being recorded anywhere on the internet.  Even the museum where we found her art could not find unstained hard copies of these little booklets about her.

Let me say at the outset something that still startles me about this great kitsch art:  these pieces are intended to be Christmas tree ornaments!  It is fun to imagine some young children taking a look around the artist's Christmas tree, and finding this macabre collection.

Little of it seems to have to do with Christmas.

This is always good advice:

Either Flo Boatright was fixated on death, or else maybe the Bible is:

I think that must be Saul of Tarsus at right, consenting to St. Stephen's death: 

Perhaps someone can clue me in as to why a bottle of champagne is a symbol for Moses the lawgiver?

Here are a few more favorites of mine:

The dog licking the sores of Lazarus is a nice touch.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pink Elephant Antiques - Livingston, Illinois

We happened on this place by accident, while making the return trip to Detroit from a family vacation to Oklahoma.  We only found Pink Elephant Antiques because we missed the turn onto I-70 East, and remained longer than intended on I-55 North.  It is about 35 miles northeast of St. Louis.
When I saw the giant "Muffler Man" in the same lot as a green flying saucer, I knew we had to stop and take a look.  Unfortunately, we arrived after the main building was closed.  So, all I have to share with is photos of the outdoor attractions:

Also, if anyone is planning to make the pilgrimage to this place, PLEASE set aside at least an extra hour to look through the beautiful vintage cars at Country Classic Cars!  It is just 4 miles up the road from Pink Elephant Antiques.