Saturday, June 05, 2010

Flowers of the day

I hope you have enjoyed a good Shabbat. In any case, may these penstemon give you a lift.

This weekend the peak temperatures are at or just above 100 degrees (F.). I panicked this morning. I did not water the garden last night because I counted on doing it this morning. I usually am up by 7:30 on Saturday mornings. Today I slept until almost 9 a.m. My nephew and godson's high school graduation was slated for 10. I barely had time to shave, shower, dress, and get there. No watering. When I got home midafternoon I watered the plants, even though it is the worst time of day to do so. I did not dare let them wait any longer. I have lost some plants this week but with as many as I have planted one must count on some losses. "Failure to thrive" is a term one might apply to all living things. All in all, not too many losses at this point.

After 7 p.m. I ventured forth with the camera and took almost four dozen photos. These were among them.

--the BB

Friday, June 04, 2010

Memory eternal

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.

See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little.

The feelings of my smallness and my nothingness always kept me good company.

The true and solid peace of nations consists not in equality of arms, but in mutual trust alone.

--Blessed Pope John XXIII, born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (25 November 1881 – 3 June 1963)

Blessed John, pray for us and beseech the Almighty to send us another loving and enlightened pope like yourself.

--the BB

Donné qu'hier fut leur fête

Martyrs de Námugónga, mes frères dans la foi, vous connaissez le contenu de ma prière, qui n'est pas changé. Je vous supplie de prier le Seigneur de la part de vos concitoyens d'aujourd'hui. Amen.

[Honi soit qui mal y pense.]

-le BB

Il fiore del giorno

A little something to brighten your day.

--the BB


06/02/10 DoD:
Army Casualty Identified
Spc. Jonathan K. Peney, 22, of Marietta, Ga., died June 1 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when he was shot by enemy forces. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

06/02/10 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified
Pfc. Jake W. Suter, 18, of Los Angeles, Calif., died May 29 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

06/01/10 DoD:
Marine Casualty Identified
Lance Cpl. Anthony A. Dilisio, 20, of Macomb, Mich., died May 30 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, IIMarine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Requiescant in pace.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

This bird is dying for our sins

AP Photographer Charlie Riedel
at The Boston Globe

Our desire for an endless, cheap supply of oil leads directly here.

Our abandonment of the Red Car in Los Angeles to build freeways for the benefit of Standard Oil leads to this moment.

Our refusal to design cities where effective public transportation meets most needs and you have neighborhoods where you can obtain most of what you need in a reasonable radius... leads to this disaster.

Our lack of political will to shift to renewable/sustainable energy... leads here.

Our not forcing Congress to raise the CAFE standards on mpg in vehicles over decades... leads here.

Our indifference and unawareness as a philosophy of government that believes government is bad and, when in power, proves it, has left us uninvolved as lobbyists wrote laws, regulations were defanged, and greed and corruption could proceed without interference until it all... leads here.

Our acquiescence while Dick Cheney convened an energy policy team the very membership list of which was secret... leads here.

Our not going on a general strike and shutting this nation down when Bush led us to war in Iraq with lies - so that four western companies could control almost all the oil in Iraq (oh yes, we divvied it up nicely, we did)... leads here.

We are complicit at every turn.

Which is not to say I will let BP, Transocean, and Halliburton off the hook for proceeding in haste when there were multiple warning signals and safeguards were ignored. Some BP honcho[s] ordered this affair to proceed and on his/their head[s] must lie eleven human deaths and all this devastation.

But we do not get off the hook either.

--the BB

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

La fleur du jour

If you could use a little encouragement or consolation today, this rose is for you.

--the BB

If the oil spill started in Albuquerque

Graphics can be helpful.

You can map it over your home by going here.

h/t to Raven at Facebook

--the BB

Venez comme vous êtes (come as you are) - updated with link

I saw this French ad for McDonald's on Daily Kos with the comment "They'll never run this in the U.S. ..."

So true.

h/t to Barbara Morrill

--the BB

Heart thread - 06/02/2010

For Kirstin:
Some of you know I had a mass removed from my abdominal wall last week. They told me it was a lipoma; harmless something like 99% of the time.

My pathology report came back today, consistent with metastatic melanoma.

That is literally all I know. I expect my oncologist in Oakland to call me tomorrow; I'll do a phone consultation with him. And see the oncologist here (Stockton) who is not the one who tried to kill me two years ago. The very least it means is scans and probably more surgery. I don't even know the protocol, if interferon would be done a second time.

I don't know what it means for my ministries in Sacramento. I know I want to continue doing everything I can. And I know that right now, I feel physically fine.

Keep praying.


Continued healing for Bruce. We learned last week that his foot infection has not gone to osteomyelitis but it is still a serious infection.

For J(1) and F and J(2)'s family and J(3) and D. For F(2) and C, for J(4) and R and M and K. For J(5) and the Missus.

For Ann and Ellie and SG's friend Terry and Cynthia's niece Madeline (cf. OCICBW).

For Baby and Dan who misses him (Come home, kitty.)

For John Bear and Raven and for my Raven.

For Marc, my Bishop, and Katherine, our Presiding Bishop.

For the repose of the soul of Angel Oramas.

For those slain in Cumbria and those who mourn them.

For the people of Gaza.

For those endangered by the wildfire in the Jemez Mountains and those who battle the blaze.

For those picking up the pieces of their lives after a tornado hit Lennox Head on the northern NSW coast (Australia).

For the Indo-US strategic dialogue beginning tomorrow.

For those in and around Karachi bracing for cyclone Phet.

For all life in and around the Gulf of Mexico.

--the BB

Two snaps!

Pentecost continues!

Pentecost is most fundamentally a continuing gift of the Spirit, rather than a limitation or quenching of that Spirit.

The recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the struggles within the Anglican Communion seems to equate Pentecost with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news. The crowd reported, “in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power” (Acts 2:11).

The Spirit does seem to be saying to many within The Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones. The Spirit also seems to be saying the same thing in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and among some of our Christian partners, including Lutheran churches in North America and Europe, the Old Catholic churches of Europe, and a number of others.

That growing awareness does not deny the reality that many Anglicans and not a few Episcopalians still fervently hold traditional views about human sexuality. This Episcopal Church is a broad and inclusive enough tent to hold that variety. The willingness to live in tension is a hallmark of Anglicanism, beginning from its roots in Celtic Christianity pushing up against Roman Christianity in the centuries of the first millennium. That diversity in community was solidified in the Elizabethan Settlement, which really marks the beginning of Anglican Christianity as a distinct movement. Above all, it recognizes that the Spirit may be speaking to all of us, in ways that do not at present seem to cohere or agree. It also recognizes what Jesus says about the Spirit to his followers, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:12-13).

The Episcopal Church has spent nearly 50 years listening to and for the Spirit in these matters. While it is clear that not all within this Church have heard the same message, the current developments do represent a widening understanding. Our canons reflected this shift as long ago as 1985, when sexual orientation was first protected from discrimination in access to the ordination process. At the request of other bodies in the Anglican Communion, this Church held an effective moratorium on the election and consecration of a partnered gay or lesbian priest as bishop from 2003 to 2010. When a diocese elected such a person in late 2009, the ensuing consent process indicated that a majority of the laity, clergy, and bishops responsible for validating that election agreed that there was no substantive bar to the consecration.

The Episcopal Church recognizes that these decisions are problematic to a number of other Anglicans. We have not made these decisions lightly. We recognize that the Spirit has not been widely heard in the same way in other parts of the Communion. In all humility, we recognize that we may be wrong, yet we have proceeded in the belief that the Spirit permeates our decisions.

We also recognize that the attempts to impose a singular understanding in such matters represent the same kind of cultural excesses practiced by many of our colonial forebears in their missionizing activity. Native Hawaiians were forced to abandon their traditional dress in favor of missionaries’ standards of modesty. Native Americans were forced to abandon many of their cultural practices, even though they were fully congruent with orthodox Christianity, because the missionaries did not understand or consider those practices exemplary of the Spirit. The uniformity imposed at the Synod of Whitby did similar violence to a developing, contextual Christianity in the British Isles. In their search for uniformity, our forebears in the faith have repeatedly done much spiritual violence in the name of Christianity.

We do not seek to impose our understanding on others. We do earnestly hope for continued dialogue with those who disagree, for we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.

We live in great concern that colonial attitudes continue, particularly in attempts to impose a single understanding across widely varying contexts and cultures. We note that the cultural contexts in which The Episcopal Church’s decisions have generated the greatest objection and reaction are also often the same contexts where women are barred from full ordained leadership, including the Church of England.

As Episcopalians, we note the troubling push toward centralized authority exemplified in many of the statements of the recent Pentecost letter. Anglicanism as a body began in the repudiation of the control of the Bishop of Rome within an otherwise sovereign nation. Similar concerns over self-determination in the face of colonial control led the Church of Scotland to consecrate Samuel Seabury for The Episcopal Church in the nascent United States – and so began the Anglican Communion.

We have been repeatedly assured that the Anglican Covenant is not an instrument of control, yet we note that the fourth section seems to be just that to Anglicans in many parts of the Communion. So much so, that there are voices calling for stronger sanctions in that fourth section, as well as voices repudiating it as un-Anglican in nature. Unitary control does not characterize Anglicanism; rather, diversity in fellowship and communion does.

We are distressed at the apparent imposition of sanctions on some parts of the Communion. We note that these seem to be limited to those which “have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion.” We are further distressed that such sanctions do not, apparently, apply to those parts of the Communion that continue to hold one view in public and exhibit other behaviors in private. Why is there no sanction on those who continue with a double standard? In our context bowing to anxiety by ignoring that sort of double-mindedness is usually termed a “failure of nerve.” Through many decades of wrestling with our own discomfort about recognizing the full humanity of persons who seem to differ from us, we continue to work at open and transparent communication as well as congruence between word and behavior. We openly admit our failure to achieve perfection!

The baptismal covenant prayed in this Church for more than 30 years calls us to respect the dignity of all other persons and charges us with ongoing labor toward a holy society of justice and peace. That fundamental understanding of Christian vocation underlies our hearing of the Spirit in this context and around these issues of human sexuality. That same understanding of Christian vocation encourages us to hold our convictions with sufficient humility that we can affirm the image of God in the person who disagrees with us. We believe that the Body of Christ is only found when such diversity is welcomed with abundant and radical hospitality.

As a Church of many nations, languages, and peoples, we will continue to seek every opportunity to increase our partnership in God’s mission for a healed creation and holy community. We look forward to the ongoing growth in partnership possible in the Listening Process, Continuing Indaba, Bible in the Life of the Church, Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, and the myriad of less formal and more local partnerships across the Communion – efforts in mission and ministry that inform and transform individuals and communities toward the vision of the Gospel – a healed world, loving God and neighbor, in the love and friendship shown us in God Incarnate.

May God’s peace dwell in your hearts,
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Churh

Somebody needed to tell +Cantuar that he has drifted from the spirit of Anglicanism. Our Presiding Bishop had the ovaries to do it.

h/t to Mimi and to John Chilton at The Lead (where you can see the video of the message).

--the BB

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Just because

America rose

--the BB

Civic duty

A friend lectured me sternly about my duty to vote in this mid-term primary, pointing to a judicial election that can make a big difference. So I went online, found out where my polling place was, and voted after work.

It is much harder to vote in New Mexico than in California. In California I received notices of my polling places, sample ballots, forms to request absentee ballots, analyses of all propositions, etc. We used to vote in several locations, depending on the size of the election, but we always knew where.

In New Mexico I have to dig it up myself. Voter information here sucks. Thank God for the internet. They do post the information online. In fact, you can even see which elections I have voted in as my record is online.

I confess, I spend so much time tracking national and international politics that I give scant attention to local politics. I know they are vital but that is not where I budget my time.

Work was one of those "double Mondays" that follow a three-day weekend. Non-stop calls. After a voting I came home and had a stiff drink, chilled, did one load of laundry, napped, and tossed this bit of fluff out just so y'all know I'm alive. I also have a noticeably darker tan after yesterday's outing.

Sweet dreams.

--the BB

Monday, May 31, 2010

Dear Diary, - Updated - new update

Latest update: If any of you are thinking of visiting it, the monument is going to be closed beginning June 6 for two months to pave the road. We barely got there in time to see it. Your tires and suspension will be grateful if you visit after this is done. It is just a gravel and dirt road with the typical corrugation to it.

Today my BFF and I took advantage of my having a federal holiday off and drove to Cochiti Pueblo and went hiking at the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.” In close inspections of the arroyos, visitors will discover small, rounded, translucent obsidian (volcanic glass) fragments created by rapid cooling. Please leave these fragments for others to enjoy.

Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.

As the result of uniform layering of volcanic material, bands of gray are interspersed with beige and pink-colored rock along the cliff face. Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward ravines into smooth semi-circles.

Here I am at the beginning of our hike.

And here is BFF bending down to get through a low spot in the slot canyon.

A yucca plant

I would be intrigued to learn what these are.

Update 1: Sue Ellen let me know. "That plant is Apache plume - a southwest plant - grows wild but is also put in southwest landscapes." I recommend clicking on the photo to see more detail on this one.

Cool formations, no?

I wonder what the lighting would be like on one of those spectacular New Mexico sunset evenings.

These are the formations that earned the "tent rock" moniker. Intriguing, no?

We went for the climb to the top, hoping for the spectacular overview, but not long before getting there it seemed evident that the old knees were getting cranky. So we turned around. By the time we got back to the trail head I was clearly starting to overheat, in spite of the water we took with us. So we sat at a picnic table in the shade and enjoyed our picnic lunch: leftover grilled salmon, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, and some sourdough bread. I rehydrated and recaffeinated and we headed home.

A nice thing to do on an incredibly beautiful New Mexico spring day.

Update 2: Gary asked what tuff is.

Tuff (from the Italian "tufo" and pronounced "toof") is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption.

Tuff is technically a sedimentary rock formed by the accumulation of volcanic ash plus pumice or scoria. (more below)

Tuff is so closely associated with volcanism that it is usually discussed along with the truly igneous rocks around it. Tuff tends to form when erupting lavas are stiff and high in silica, which holds the volcanic gases in bubbles rather than letting it escape. The brittle lava is readily shattered into jagged pieces, collectively called tephra (TEFF-ra) or volcanic ash. Fallen tephra may be reworked by rainfall and streams. Tuff is a rock of great variety and tells the geologist a lot about conditions during the eruptions that gave birth to it.

If tuff beds are thick enough or hot enough, they can consolidate into a fairly strong rock. The city of Rome's buildings, both ancient and modern, are commonly made of tuff blocks from the local bedrock. In other places, tuff may be fragile and must be carefully compacted before buildings can be constructed on it. Residential and suburban buildings that short-change this step remain prone to landslides and washouts, whether from heavy rainfall or from the inevitable quakes, like that which struck San Salvador in Central America on 13 January 2001. There many buildings on the local tierra blanca tuff collapsed.

Close-up of the canyon wall showing the varieties
of rock contained in the sedimentary layers.

--the BB

Decoration Day 2010

These shall be my wreath today for all who have fallen in war.




Almighty God, we remember before you today your faithful servants whose lives were laid down on behalf of others; and we pray that, having opened to them the gates of larger life, you will receive them more and more into your joyful service, that, with all who have faithfully served you in the past, they may share in the eternal victory of Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
And for the living:
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
--the BB

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday of All Saints

In unison of faith,
let us spiritually celebrate
the universal festival
of all them that have
been pleasing unto God
from ages past,
even the venerable order
of Patriarchs,
the assembly of Prophets,
the adornment
of the Apostles,
the gathering of Martyrs,
the boast of Ascetics,
the memory of all the Saints;
for they intercede unceasingly
that peace be granted
to the world,
and great mercy
to our souls.

--Great Vespers of the Sunday of All Saints, Pentecostarion

The Paschal cycle concludes this day on the Octave of Pentecost. As throughout Eastertide I follow here the Eastern calendar. My sympathies are entirely with the Eastern Churches in the matter the Trinity and issues of pneumatology, finding the west, well, weak in practice and devotion, its formularies notwithstanding. What you get in most Protestant-flavored churches is essentially Christo-monism (my term for it). I remember a Catholic co-worker who visited her fiancé's Presbyterian church and wondering what happened to the Father and the Holy Spirit. If, on the other hand, one's whole existence is caught up in the life of the Most Holy Trinity, it seems silly to choose one Sunday to emphasize or talk about it. Less talk, more living.

Unlike most clergy, I am not reluctant to talk about the Trinity, however. I preached on the Trinity two Sundays ago.

We may now have a collective sigh as we relax into the "long green season."

[At St Cuddy's we actually stayed red through much of the summer, celebrating a Liturgy of the Spirit all the way through August. In September we switched to a Creation Liturgy. The current bishop has disallowed our experiments but it was wonderful back in the day.]

--the BB

Oh yeah, she's good

M. considered E’s messenger. Her green eyes held his, her face betrayed no anxiety. She sat erect and poised in the saddle, composed and self-contained. She had not given her name yet her behavior was not rude. An arrogant person could have taken offense by the simplicity of this greeting. M. was impressed, as she meant him to be.

Yes, this signals that I am writing again, trying to figure out where the heck this story is headed. I know how it ends, but am not quite so clear how it gets there. The fates of the principals is fixed in my mind, but we have a ways to go. I have not even sorted out quite what happens from the parlay prefaced by the snippet above.

The only way forward is forward. I will probably end up having wrestled with this scene and the one after all weekend. Which is still rather rapid progress. There is hope.

Since I preach extempore, this is evocative of sermons where I spin out several threads and then wonder, as the congregation no doubt also wonders, how I will ever pull it all together. It usually comes together in the end. But not always. Helps keep me humble.

It is about eight months since I worked on the book, a huge loss of time. I am not getting younger and this is only volume three. I want to write ten before I die. Time to win Powerball so I can retire and write.

--the BB