Saturday, April 10, 2010

Quasimodo geniti infantes

Quasimodo geniti infantes, alleluia: rationabiles, sine dolo lac concupiscite, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
--Introit of the Second Sunday of Easter

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
--1 Peter 2:2

Eight days after Thine arising, O Lord,
Thou didst appear unto Thy disciples
in the place where they were gathered,
and Thou didst cry unto them:
Peace be unto you.
And Thou didst show Thy hands
and immaculate side
unto the doubting disciple.
Wherefore, convinced, he cried unto Thee:
O my Lord and my God,
glory be to Thee.

"Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

I remember the brethren of JN1034 telling me that the power to bind and loose was really given for loosing, not binding. I suppose a parallel might be that we are made to love and be loved but are free to do otherwise. The "otherwise," a vital part of our freedom, is not what we are made for, however.

Because I have seen it in real lives I know that we have the power to set people free, and this is not the exclusive property of clergy.

Whom will I set free this week?

--the BB

A beautiful weekend

The weather in the past week has been erratic. Some evenings I have had the ceiling fan on all night, others I have had the heat on. This weekend is clear, sunny, and beautiful.

I stopped to buy more cedar bark last night and ended up buying a couple of rose bushes, even though I had no idea where I would put them. So this morning I planted roses. Here is the garden report for today.

A view of the yard with multiple rose bushes and three peach trees, pansies, violas, daffodils, and tulips. (Click to embiggen.)

The Thompson seedless grapevine is putting forth tender leaves.

This is a burgundy iceberg rose planted with some purple (I would say magenta) dianthus.

Tulips (pretending to be peonies?). I had no idea they would be such lush multiples.

Lilac buds that first by the back door bloom.

Blossoms of the black Tartarian cherry, the last tree to blossom.

The newly planted Angel Face floribunda rose. It smells as a rose should and I love it. This photo makes it look more pink but it is really a lavender pink looking very much like a Sterling rose.

We are at the time of year when I really enjoy my little garden.

May you all have joy and beauty this weekend.

--the BB

Heart thread - 04/10/2010

Let us pray for the departed, those who mourn, and the people of Poland.
President of Poland Killed in Plane Crash in Russia


MOSCOW — A plane carrying the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, and dozens of the country’s top political and military leaders crashed in a heavy fog in western Russia on Saturday morning, killing everyone aboard. [NYT]

Let us "pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living" [Mother Jones].
Miners Found Dead: Four Missing Miners Found Dead At Upper Big Branch Coal Mine
MONTCOAL, W.Va. — Searchers found four bodies deep in a West Virginia coal mine shattered by an explosion, raising the death toll to 29 and ending an excruciating week for families holding onto faint hopes that their missing miners had somehow survived. [Huffington Post]

It appears that the W.Va. mine disaster could have been averted
AS RESCUERS continue to try to find the four remaining miners trapped after the Upper Big Branch coal mine exploded on Monday, we're finding out plenty about Massey Energy chief executive Don L. Blankenship and the operations of that doomed facility. None of it is good. What's been revealed is a distressing effort to render ineffective the mining regulations that were strengthened in 2006 to bring a measure of safety to a very dangerous job. [Washington Post editorial this morning]

We continue to remember Klady:
So far so good. Dr. said the fractures are "stable" so I should not need surgery. Will get new xrays in a week to check on it and then decide whether to proceed with a hard cast or consult with a surgeon if things change or I want a 2d op. Mobility poor - just a few steps with crutches exhaust me - will be cooped up at home for a long time. Royal PITA, but nothing worse. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.
For the people of Thailand:
BANGKOK, April 10 (Reuters) - Four civilians and four soldiers were killed in clashes between the army and red shirt protesters, the Bangkok deputy governor said on Saturday without giving details.
For David and Glen and all who seek employment but do not have it.

For the people of Kyrgyzstan:
Kyrgyzstan is observing a period of mourning for the 79 people believed to have been killed by government forces Wednesday. The clash appears to have driven from power President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. [Voice of America]
For the people of Sudan:
KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudan's first multiparty elections in more than two decades will go ahead despite the withdrawal of several opposition parties alleging campaign irregularities, the election commission said Saturday. [AP]
For Margaret and all who struggle for grace [see here]. For deliverance of all held in bondage (or perceiving themselves as in bondage) to law.

Pray for a reordering of our values:
The Preposterous Reality: 25 Hedge Fund Managers Are Worth 680,000 Teachers (Who Teach 13 Million Students)
"It’s going to take a lot of political will — over a long period of time — to reorder our most basic economic values."
In 2009, the worst economic year for working people since the Great Depression, the top 25 hedge fund managers walked off with an average of $1 billion each. With the money those 25 people “earned,” we could have hired 658,000 entry level teachers. (They make about $38,000 a year, including benefits.) Those educators could have brought along over 13 million young people, assuming a class size of 20. That’s some value. [Les Leopold at Alternet, h/t to Ellie]
For the Church that it may be the Church, in thanksgiving for the witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and for Mark who had insomnia this morning.
Today is the 65th anniversary of the martyrdom of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I had insomnia early in the morning, so I passed the time reading Bonhoeffer's “Widerstand und Ergebung: Briefe und Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft.” (Bonhoeffer's prison writings). My focus for meditation today has been this brief, simple, but profound quote from Summer 1944:

Die Kirche ist nur Kirche, wenn sie für andere da ist.

The Church is only Church if it is there for others. [Mark at amictus sindone]
Mark also shared this:
Unsere Kirche, die in diesen Jahren nur um ihre Selbsterhaltung gekämpft hat, als wäre sie ein Selbstzweck, ist unfähig, Träger des versöhnenden und erlösenden Wortes für die Menschen und für die Welt zu sein.

Our church, which has been fighting in these years only for its self preservation, as though that were an end in itself, is incapable of taking the word of reconciliation and redemption to humankind and to the world.
For the people of A Community of the Servant Savior Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas.
We are the only More Light Presbyterian Church in this presbytery. More Light Presbyterians are a group working for the full inclusion and membership of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered people. We march in the Houston Pride Parade every year.
We also have a huge organic garden that donates produce to a local food pantry.
For the last twenty years or so, we have provided families living with AIDS a "Christmas Basket" which contains two weeks of food for a family of four. This last December we fed seventy two families.
We are a small church that feels like a big family.
Last night about 11 pm an arsonist burned my church building down. We lost everything: two buildings, all our furniture, books, hymnals, a new piano, a wall of crosses from around the world and so many other things. Our building is gone but our church is strong. [Kevin Murphy at Daily Kos]

O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men [sic]; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; especially those for whom our prayers are desired; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen. [The Book of Common Prayer]

--the BB

Friday, April 09, 2010

Let's lie; no one will notice

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Big Bang Treaty
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Why is it that a fake news show on the Comedy Network explains facts better than any other alleged news show?

--the BB

Which bolgia?

Where in the Inferno would Dante place Massey Energy chairman and CEO Don L. Blankenship? With the indifferent or the avaricious? Those violent against their neighbor? Falsifiers? Traitors?
According to federal records, MSHA cited the Upper Big Branch mine for more than 1,300 safety violations from 2005 through Monday. Fifty citations came in the last month alone. [source]

Given the track record of safety violations in mines for which he is responsible, I suspect Dante would not be kind.
Many of those fifty citations were for poor ventilation of dust and methane, failure to maintain proper escape ways, and the accumulation of combustible materials. The Charleston Gazette reports that last year, more than ten percent of the enforcement actions taken by MSHA at the Upper Big Branch mine were for unwarrantable failure to follow safety rules, compared to about two percent at mines nationwide.

The CEO of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship, has denied any wrongdoing and said that any suspicion the mine was improperly operated was unfounded. [ibid.]
Blankenship hates unions and only 1.8 % of Massey's workers are unionized. If you have union workers they can report unsafe conditions and refuse unsafe work, which would cut into Blankenship's relentless drive to keep the bottom line where he wants it.

Jason Linkins writes at HuffPost:
Over at ThinkProgress, Brad Johnson pulls video of Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship registering complaints in June of 2009 that the safety rules governing mines were "difficult to comply with" and "nonsensical."

Maybe this was a big red flag that something terrible would one day happen?
Why should anyone comply with regulations when there is no serious consequence for non-compliance?
The agency has the power to seek federal court orders or injunctions against mines showing a pattern of violation and posing a hazard to the health and safety of miners. The agency has never used that authority, officials said. [WaPo cited in Linkins' article]
Ah, the mining companies had figured out how to stymie the regulators... and the feds did not tighten the rules. (Well, if you're a free market fundamentalist you assume regulation is bad and unregulated production and commerce work things out. This raging liberal does not have that much faith in human goodness, believe me.) The Obama Administration knew the rules were being gamed and, besides appointing more judges to adjudicate appeals, has seemingly done nothing to tighten the rules.

You all know where the lobbying money is going to come from. Yep, the coal industry. And, thanks to SCOTUS, corporations are entitled to lobby all they want.

Know any regulators who can stand against that? Of congresscritters?

Lots of rest

I got nine+ hours of sleep last night so I was not posting. Happy Friday everyone!

--the BB

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Heart thread - 04/07/2010 - updated

I apologize for the tardiness of this one, though y'all might have thought I was April Foolin' had I posted it on the date proper. Last Thursday was the sixtieth wedding anniversary of my sister Shirley and her husband Jack. Happy Anniversary, Big Sister and Bro!

Grant, O God, in your compassion, that Jack and Shirley, having taken each other in marriage, may grow in forgiveness, loyalty, and love; and come at last to the eternal joys which you have promised through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Let us pray for coal miners everywhere and especially those killed and those waiting to be rescued in West Virginia. Let us pray for the decency and responsibility to enforce safety regulations with vigor and firmness and hold responsible those whose habitual negligence and disdain for human life make such disasters inevitable.

For those injured or endangered by mud and flooding in Rio, most especially those in the slums.

For K. that her kidney stone may successfully be broken up and she released from pain. For B. that he may be healed of infection and recover from side effects of medication. For M. that he might find comfort and healing. For D. that he may have successful treatment and be freed from anxiety.

Update: For D. and N. as D. strikes out on her own and for those who must adjust to this.

For Matt that he may continue in safety and thrive in a new environment, that he may find wisdom to guide him and compassion to surround him, that he and his family may move toward healing.

For the people of Thailand and Kyrgyzstan that civil unrest (see also here) may end in peace with justice.

For victims of violence in Iraq from any and every cause.

For peace in Afghanistan.

For refugees everywhere.

Healing for Scout's broken toe.

For reduction of the threat from nuclear weapons.

For victims of abuse in any context, for their vindication and healing. We'll pray for the healing of abusers after this is taken care of.

For healing of the earth.

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.

Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

--the BB

He that saveth our souls is risen from the dead

O Lord, the women ran unto
the tomb to see Thee, the Christ,
Who hadst suffered for us.
And on drawing nigh,
they found an Angel
sitting upon the stone,
which had rolled away in fear;
and he cried out unto them and said:
The Lord is risen!
Tell the disciples
that He that saveth our souls
is risen from the dead.

--Matins, Thursday of Renewal Week, Pentecostarion

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

With hymns do we glorify Thy life-creating and saving Rising from the dead

Thou didst crush the brazen gates
and shatter the bars,
O Christ God,
and Thou didst raise
the fallen human race;
for this cause do we
cry out with one accord:
Thou Who didst arise
from the dead, Lord,
glory be to Thee.

--Vespers of Tuesday of Renewal Week, the Pentecostarion

I am a social justice Christian

Because the Torah repeatedly calls us to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the alien. Because the prophets and the psalms and the wisdom literature all hold this out as a criterion of our faith. Because Jesus leads us in reaching out to outcasts and caring for the least in society. Because the epistles and the Apocalypse speak of it as well. In other words, the entire Bible calls us to pursue social justice.

And, because y'all know I won't resist, Glenn Beck is an ass. And a false prophet.

1 John 4.1

--the BB

Sunday, April 04, 2010

At the Lamb's high feast we sing

The Easter table with Greek Easter bread in the foreground

Spanakopita (with added sundried tomatoes),
tzatziki, goat brie on mini-toasts - yum!

Imam bayeldi before we sat down for the second course

Detail with greater exposure

I hope y'all had a wonderful first day of Easter. I certainly did (though I regretted overindulgence last night).

--the BB

Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց! - Օրհնեալ է Յարութիւնն Քրիստոսի! - updated with Armenian script

Angels in the heavens, O Christ our Saviour, praise Thy Resurrection with hymns; deem us also who are on earth worthy to glorify Thee with a pure heart.

Mark 16.1-8
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Glory to the Holy, and Consubstantial, and Life-creating, and Indivisible Trinity, always, now and ever, and unto the ages. Amen.

Χριστος Ανεστη εκ νεκρων
θανατω θανατον πατησας
και τοις εν τοις μνημασιν
ζωην χαρισαμενος

Christ is risen from the dead
trampling down death by death
and upon those in the tombs
bestowing life.
It is the day of Resurrection, let us be radiant, O ye peoples; Pascha, the Lord's Pascha; for Christ God hath brought us from death unto life, and from earth unto Heaven as we sing the triumphal hymn.

Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with the unapproachable light of the Resurrection, and we shall clearly hear Him say: Rejoice! as we sing the triumphal hymn.

For it is meet that the Heavens should rejoice, and that the earth should be glad, and that the whole world, both visible and invisible, should keep the feast; for Christ, our everlasting Joy, hath arisen.

--The Pentecostarion

Alleluia, Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

--the BB