Saturday, December 31, 2011

Flight 2011 Reports the Runway in Sight

2011 is less than two and a half hours from crossing the runway into the history books. I'm not entirely jazzed about becoming another year older, but I am happy to see this year in the rear view mirror.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the Feast of the Holy Innocents

The Feast of the Holy Innocents, this was always the scary component of the Christmas Story for me as a child. Thinking that a madman could order the killing of all little boys in a region was the stuff of dark nightmares. As I grew, I wondered why this account wasn't splashed across the history books as a moment of infamy, this changed when I learned more of the scarlet character of the Idumean pretender to the throne of David.

To be succinct and without the benefit of a degree in Psychology, I can simply state that Herod was bat-scat crazy. This puppet king's paranoia was off the map, and anyone whom he perceived as a threat to his tenuous grasp of power was dead meat. He left a blood trail that was wide and deep, so much so that a few dozen little boys in Bethlehem would be little more than a footnote in the bigger picture.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On the Winter's Solstice

A Little Loreena on Winter's first morning.

AG Opens new front in War on the Republic

In an apparent effort to ensure that "Occupy 1600" continues by "whatever means necessary", AGUS Eric Holder is opening up a new front on the Republic, one that will rupture a sewer pipe, spewing corruption and voter fraud across the 2012 election landscape.

Read more here.

Remember, this is the same Eric Holder who refused to pursue charges against two bat- wielding, beret-wearing terrorists in Philadelphia, and hoped to use the effects of Operation Fast and Furious to precipitate the squashing of citizen's rights under the 2nd Amendment.

Here's the bottom line: we can't buy Sudafed or Claritan without showing an ID. I can't board the Cape May-Lewes Ferry without showing an ID. ID's are used to match voters with voter roles, preventing fraud. Removing the ID requirement on election day will only take the opportunity for such fraud and cause it to explode geometrically.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Morning After a Dental Procedure

I Had a brand new experience yesterday in the comfort of a Dentist's chaise lounge yesterday evening, centering on the extraction of the upper-right #2 molar. If a song says it all in describing that procedure, I'd say it would be owned by Verdi's Anvil Chorus, or Coro di zingari, from his opera Il trovatore.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Advent Musical Meditation

I loved this song back in the day as it was a nugget of gold in an otherwise sea of fluffy Christian kitsch. Would that we could wake every morning with the sense of Advent within our hearts.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Most obscure Christmas Song -- Winner!

Our Celebration Seniors had their Christmas Luncheon this week at the rectory and all who made the event had a great time. A trivia game was played where contestants had to guess the titles of songs that were "restated" (e.g. "Those who are true may approach" = "O come all ye faithful"). Well, among the titles was "Suzanne, the frigid drip, draws nigh".

I don't remember ever hearing Rosemary Clooney's Suzy Snowflake and such, it's been awarded The Catbird Seat's Melodia Obscura prize for 2011.

NIMBY down at Trinity Wall Street

When Occupy Wall Street (OWS) broke on the scene, they were warmly endorsed by many great institutions and individuals such as the American Nazi party, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, Hamas, Nancy Pelosi and POTUS B.H. Obama. True to their DNA and predictably, the Episcopal Church gave its endorsement to this collage of public defecators and dope smokers. Apparently, endorsements wear out the moment the endorsees bring their droppings and dope smoke over to your house.

After loosing the good will of Mr. Bloomberg and having to clear out of Zucotti Park, the OWS kids decided to squat on Duarte Square, land owed by Trinity Wall Street (TWS). This led to their immediate removal by the NYPD. The crew returned, only to be arrested again. Trinity has released a Statement justifying their actions.

Being liberal doesn't automatically bequeath being unwise; the leadership of TWS saw the disaster left at Zucotti by the protesters and had no desire to see their property defiled.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Phil Ashey Opines

Phil Ashey+ has provided some gratis gravitas for us in his weekly perspective on the continuing state of affairs in S. Carolina.

The Bishops involved in this state that they're simply following the mandates of Matthew 18 in dealing with an "erring brother". In this passage, Christ instructs his disciples that if in the end, if a brother not listen, he's to be treated as a pagan. If this is the case and these bishops follow the paradigm of the Episcopal church, They'll have no recourse but to make +Mark Lawrence either a seminary Dean or have him stand for the office of PB. OK, all snark aside and back to serious reflection.

This Bishops have, in fact, not moved in the spirit of Matthew 18. In the admonition, there is a clear crescendo of action that begins personally and privately before becoming a matter of public (church) concern. Our concerned Bishops have made their "concern" a very public matter in the form of their press releases. In light of this, one has to wonder if this has entered a new phase, one of "war by proxy"?

Funny, I've had more folk tell me that I could pass for Phil's+ younger brother... an honor indeed.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I Believe in Saint Nick

To all the grumpy sanctimonious supersaints with a beef with Saint Nick, I say "PFFFBBBBBITTT". This Deacon not only believes in Saint Nick, but thinks that the Church would be blessed if more of her saints felt so, and emulated the traits that made Nicholas of Myrna a mighty man of God.

I have heard some pretty outrageous and breathless stories surrounding Santa. The Jack Chick wing of Christianity likes to equate "Santa" with "Satan" (A stretch, but there are folk who will go to the wall over this). Our "Santa" can be traced back all the way to the dawning era of Christianity. The name "Santa Claus" sprouted from the mispronunciation of the Dutch "Sinter Klaas" (Saint Nicholas), a man of deep and abiding faith in the Almighty and one who's faith had real shoe leather.

Nicholas was born to an ethnic Greek family during the second half of the Third Century in the city of Patara, Asia Minor (Turkey). He was orphaned early as a result of the plague but being from an influential family, he was not left destitute. This wealth would become a source of blessing for the poor and destitute and Nicholas was soon recognized for his faith, devotion and compassion. In short order, this young man would be made Bishop of Myrna, a coastal city of Asia Minor. Here, Nicholas' ministry was extended to the sailors and mariners who made Myrna a port of call. Nicholas would become acquainted with suffering during the bitter Diocletian persecution, a horrible onslaught against the Church. With the passing of this, Nicholas returned to Myrna where his ministry continued.

Nicholas was present at the Council of Nicea in 325 where history records his staunch stand for the historic, apostolic faith. A story exists that during this event, in a moment of extreme frustration at the blustering of a heretic, Nicholas punched Arius square in the nose. Other stories speak not to a bishop turned boxer, but to a man who would carry out acts of compassion under the cover of night or place his own life at risk to rescue sailors. The Bishop left this life for life eternal on December 6, 343.

Anglicans remember Nicholas today, praying:

Almighty God, in your love you gave your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea: Grant, we pray, that your Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

A Happy Saint Nick's Day to all!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day 2011

We've crossed the tipping point on the calendar in Northern Virginia where fall looses the battle against the encroaching winter. We find ourselves between a waning sun and a biting onslaught from the Arctic. Can you think of a better time to gather loved ones together for a celebration of thanksgiving for the year's bounty?

I woke with the sun this morning, mostly due to the fact that I've brushed up against a cold and the throat was screaming at me for some relief and hydration. The silence of the house provided an opportunity to consider the blessings of 2011 and the things which to be thankful for. The list isn't exhaustive, but it includes:

  • Another year spent on the green side of the sod
  • The fact that there are those who love me in spite of me
  • Blessed Assurance
  • Successful sons
  • The opportunity to serve the saints at Celebration Church
  • The blessing of being a part of the Anglican awakening in North America
  • The privilege of serving a Godly Bishop (+John Guernsey)

Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are today! Many will be gathered with families. Some will be with shipmates afloat. Some will be at a firebase somewhere in Asia. Others will, sadly, be celebrating this day alone. May you all be blessed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Evening Reverie

The Booing of the FLOTUS

I didn't witness it, and any take I have on the event is based on what has been reported. Apparently, the FLOTUS, Mrs. Obama received a chilly reception during yesterday's final NASCAR run at Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida. Both she and Mrs. Biden were "booed" by some in the crowd prior to directing the racers to "Start your engines". Come on folks, your mama's raised you better than that.

Mrs. Obama, like Mrs. Clinton before her, has been a low-level source of controversy since her public debut. She openly shared her disdain for the American Republic prior to her husband's nomination as Democratic Party candidate. She has been very vocal about American eating habits while unabashedly enjoying Five Guys burgers and fries. And also like Mrs. Clinton, she has apparently interjected herself into the policy making process. In all, she has appeared as a Nanny-Stater, a position that many regardless of party affiliation find baneful.

Now, before the full time grievance apparatchiks spin up, let's make the fact clear that this had little to do with race. (Yes, there are knuckle-dragging trogs out there that base their hatred of an individual based on their dermal melanin levels; save your breath on these reprobates because they're not listening). I suspect the motivation was overwhelmingly political. This said, I reiterate my earlier statement: Come on folks, your mama's raised you better than that.

At the risk of sounding like a professional scold or mainstream media hack, let me point towards the need for manners and civility. Booing, heckling and similar behaviors only serve to make us smaller. The most powerful and civil expressions of our disapproval is our ballots.

Truthfully, as a Christian Libertarian, this administration's policies make my head explode. I've been disappointed by our President and his seemingly "America Last" Agenda. My ballot will reflect this disappointment.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Romantic Love on a Monday

Many might dismiss this song as being simply mush and sentimentalism. But I believe that, truth be told, any real love has a palpable component of mushy, romantic love. I'll refer this aspect of the relationship to being "nuts in love".

What is "nuts in love"? Its the state of being enveloped by a heart full of a plethora of emotion for the object of one's affection. Its being a forty-something who, when thinking about their beloved, is transported back to North Brandywine Junior High School and the seventh grade.

Embrace your sweetie tonight! Let him or her know that they rock your world.

Early on a Monday

Sunday Reverie

This is, at least in my humble estimation, the greatest bit of sacred music written in the past century.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Frank Griswold Opines

Frank Griswold, scion and pastor to the Upper Main Line and 25th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, spoke of the calamities experienced by the church of late in an interview with Duke Divinity School's Faith and Leadership publication. Notably, he touches on the two earthquakes that have effected the body in which he was steward.

He speaks to the 25 million dollar damage experienced by the National Cathedral during the the Virginia quake of August 23, 2011, and the quakes radiating from the issue of gay ordinations during his tenure. In all of this, the Bishop views this as a Desert experience.

To use an image from the Old Testament, maybe this is the desert time.

The desert was a period of purification and self-knowledge in order that they were prepared to enter the promised land. All the things that happened in the wilderness, the struggle and the suffering, were part of being shaped and formed and being made ready to enter the promised land, especially where they could receive it as gift rather than acquisition.

I believe that Bishop Griswold is correct in his discernment of the Hand of the Almighty in the August temblor. Two historic American icons were shook and damaged; as easily as they could have been spared, they could have fallen in a heap. Yet, the Bishop has only captured one segment of the Desert Walk. True, Joshua, son of Nun and Caleb, son of Jephunneh stepped out of the wasteland on the other side; one million or so of their contemporaries were left to bleach in the sterile wilderness of the Sinai. Or if one considers the scapegoat, we see one who is sent to wander the desert never to return.

If Bishop Griswold is correct in his assessment, it would be helpful not just to identify his church's placement, but the purpose of this placement (and displacement). Herein will lie the result of whether the Episcopal Church emerges from the wilderness at Jordan's banks, or will permanently fall in the cruel Sinai.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

D.W. Griffith Rides Again

The Left, for all of its self-flagellation, simply can't exorcise its racist past. The events of late serve to bring this back into sharp focus. I could focus on the rife antisemitism thats boiling over down at your local Occupy Wall Street (OWS) event. There's enough outrage to devote an entire essay to that. No, I want to talk about something equally insidious, and that is the Lynching of Mr. Herman Cain.

I've been watching the events unfold since Mr. Cain's rise to the center of our focus. Mr. Cain is an unhyphenated American with a will of steel, tough skin and a tender heart. He has earned the scorn of the establishment left because he is not beholden to the benevolent plantation owners or their grievance industry trustees. He is disparaged by the neoconservatives in the establishment right because Herman Cain has identified them as "part of the problem" through their fiscal liberalism. So, from the standpoint of both sides, Mr. Cain has become like a rock in their running shoe; one who must be marginalized, and done so quickly.

We saw it coming, or at least we should have seen it coming. A story so tawdry and banal broke on the scene; one so slimy, it could have been crafted by Larry Flynt. Suddenly (though predictably) the "Black man as sexual predator" meme was dredged up out of the swamp last week. This is no new invention, even predating the Justice Clarence Thomas affair by decades. In the past century, the very ploy was used (successfully sadly) against the giant-killer boxer and Heavyweight Champion, Jack Johnson. Though tawdry, its a simple meme to employ, simply playing on what one Blogger from Philadelphia has referred to as "Color Arousal". This same ploy was used, unsuccessfully, against Justice Clarence Thomas in September 1991.

A quick examination of the current libel against Mr. Cain wends down a trail that ultimately leads to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, by proxy. Looking at the aggrieved, we see a triad emerge consisting of David Axelrod, Chicago and the Obama administration. We see what will be shown to be an opportunistic individual playing the part of useful idiot.

When this all washes out, the DNA of the DNC will be all over this hot mess. We'll see (for he who hath eyes to see, let him see...) the true benighted soul of the party of Nathan Bedford Forrest, D.W. Griffith, Grand Wizards, Southern Segregationists, et al. Sadly, all we'll hear from the sycophants in the establishment press will be co-dependent, enabling denial or just the sound of crickets.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

On the Sunday following All Saints

From the book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

It was quite the day today at Celebration. It was a Deacon's mass as the priest was on the road to Charlotte, NC to celebrate at a plant of the Falls Church in the absence of their priest. It was a great morning.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Title 18 U.S.C Chapter 115

Title 18 U.S. Code Chapter 115 covers Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities. It would do my heart good to have a team of Constitutional Lawyers and federal Law Enforcement officials who take their oath of office seriously, to investigate this rouge's gallery in order to see if they are in violation of the aforementioned statue. Though not explicitly on the list, The Episcopal Church joins the list by implication with its own words.

When you swear an Oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, its not an a la carte affair, its a zero-sum affair.

Some prominent members of this list include:
  • The Government of North Korea
  • The Revolutionary Guards of Iran
  • "Tio" Hugo Chavez
  • Hezbollah
  • The American Nazi Party
  • The POTUS
  • The VPOTUS
  • The Hon. Ms. Nancy Pelosi

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

For All the saints, Who from their Labors Rest

On the Feast of All Saints:
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

If you've spent any time at all perched in the seat, you'll know that the following video has become a tradition at All Saints. The lyrics are in themselves powerful enough. The imagery adds mega-tonnage. Its a reminder that Martyrs aren't a relic of some misty past. Each day, that mighty cloud of witnesses attested to in Hebrews grows steadily and inexorably. Remarkably, we here in the Great Suburbia Majora have been mostly immune to the unending onslaught that effects saints globally, there's no guarantee that this will be the rule until the end.

Friday, October 28, 2011

At Compline

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who alone works great marvels Send down upon our Bishops and Clergy, and all People committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of your grace ; and that they may truly please you, pour upon them the continual dew of your blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday Nightcap

An Ode to True Love

Friday Reverie

Our eyes and other physical senses fight hard to prove Hobbes correct, that our existence is simply "Nasty, Brutish, and Short", yet our hearts tell us a different story as the Almighty has placed his thumbprint on each human heart. There is life beyond the firing of our neurons and the beating of our hearts. Saint Augustine proclaimed, in speaking of the Almighty:

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."

Its a mysterious aspect of the Dichotomy that makes us human; Our fallen hearts are at war with the Godhead. Yet, that same fallen heart cries out and aches for the the comfort that only the Almighty brings. Tonight, my thoughts, wishes and prayers are that we who are yoked with the Christ would present Him to a parched world, unsullied by our personalities or politics.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bishop Mark Lawrence

Seems the Catbird can be a "day late" in offering up salient thoughts at times on the passing scene in the Anglican universe. Even so, I'd like to put some thoughts out there concerning a faithful Shepherd who seems to be getting the dirty end of the stick. In the interim, my prayers are lifted for the Bishop, his family and his flock. Godspeed Bishop Mark!

Two Weighty Questions -- Question #2 (Part 2)

I hope to bring these thoughts in and park 'em in the hangar with this one.

We've been kicking around the questions, "What is the primary mission of the Church?" and "What is the greatest hindrance to that mission?" since this post back at the start of October. This morning, I'll share thoughts on how we become that stumbling block and how we might take a wrecking ball to it. Though there are many things that may occur at the micro level, I believe we can categorize these on a macro level through describing them as our being "Off Focus", "Off Frequency", and "Off Sides".

"Off Focus". The Westminster Shorter Catechism (paraphrased) describes the "chief aim of man" as to "Glorify God and enjoy Him forever". By implication, our focal point as the Church is the Almighty God. All too often in our contemporary American cultural church, its become a type of group therapy that's centered on my feelings, well being and self improvement. The moment He leaves the center of our lens, this focus distorts and can ultimately be lost. When first person pronouns are the dominant component of speech related to the Almighty and His Church, its a good time to perform a focus check. You see, its about HIM, not US. When examining our prayers, are there more "you's, your's, him/his", or "I, me, mine's"?

"Off Frequency". As an amateur radio operator, I can tell you that there is nothing more frustrating than not having a proper frequency, or communicating with someone whose radio is off frequency. Are we hearing from God? Very few of us have (or will ever) experience a Theophany/Christophany where we experience that "close encounter of the third kind" with a member of the Godhead. This said, He has made it possible to hear from Him through encounters in His word, prayer, events and others. Through these, God has made himself clearly known. If we're looking to hear from Him in ways other than these, we're not going to hear much of anything in the way of the divine will of the Father.

"Off Sides". One is ostensibly "Off Sides" in American Football when they're where they shouldn't be when the ball is snapped. Not only does this nullify the play but it costs the defenders precious yardage. The saint who is off sides has a similar effect on their team as well. The ways in which a saint can be off sides on God's gridiron are too numerous to to list in this space. However, through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we'll receive immediate feedback when we're not where we should be. Its when we ignore this conviction that we cease to be spiritually healthy and productive saints. This individual not only has the move of God choked in their life, but their likely hindering others.

The bright spot in all of this is the fact that any or all of these are highly treatable in the life of the saint. Our God is a master at remedial maintenance and the dirtiest of us can be made white as wool. He's also made "a way of escape" from these setbacks through a course of preventive maintenance. Our ability to hinder the mission of the church is greatly reduced when we're looking for God, listening for God, and being mindful of our standing within the kingdom of God.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Reverie

I'm taken back for a moment when I realize that this song is almost 20 years old. Even so, Between the lyrics and video, it is chocked full of New Testament imagery that it always arrests me back whenever I hear it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the protest...

Hmmm, maybe there is something inherently evil about paying for a quality education.

Following the Money... All 168.9 Million

(A tip of the Zuchetto to Nickie Goomba...)

Why are the unwashed basement dwellers being allowed to occupy private property in NYC? Simply stated, their rent on the space has been generously provided by YOU, the American taxpayer. The dots are connected for us over on "It Don't Make Sense".

So 53 percenters, does this mean we can claim these folk on our 1040's?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Two Weighty Questions -- Question #2

I was posed with a two-pronged question earlier this week, one that deserved the most thoughtful answers possible as the question has eternal weight. What is the mission of the Church and what is the greatest hindrance to this mission's completion? Now, onto part two of the question, "What's the greatest impediment to the completion of the Church's mission?"

There are factors working against the individual believer which in my opinion, also seek to work against the mission of the Church, as it is a greater extension of the believer. Saint John recognized these as "the world, the flesh, and the devil". I'd pose that "the flesh" (a.k.a "Us") is the single greatest impediment.

The "world" (not to be confused with creation) has stood in opposition to the church since her birth. At its best this world is indifferent to mildly antagonistic towards the church and at its worst, proactively hostile. But the world is a known variable that we've known about since Christ spoke to us on the issue (...If the World hates you...) The very fact that the church exists in places like North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar stands in testimony to its ability to impede its mission.

What can be said about the adversary that's not already been said? Luther said it well when he penned:

For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

This accuser could, left unchecked, smash the the church into dust and scatter it on the four winds. This same accuser is also, under the submission of the Almighty and can only execute what is permitted. The very Lord who promised that the "Gates of Hell" would not prevail against the church, will not permit Hell's dark slumlord to do so either.

This leaves us with the big Mea Culpa; We have met the enemy and he is us, as both Walt Kelly and the Underground Pewster have opined. I'll explain in my next installment.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Two Weighty Questions -- Question #1

I was posed with a two-pronged question earlier this week, one that deserved the most thoughtful answers possible as the question has eternal weight. What is the mission of the Church and what is the greatest hindrance to this mission's completion? Now, onto the more fuller answer to prong one.

The mission of the Church in its most essential form is to reflect the Glory of the Godhead, as well as bring glory to its Head, Christ Jesus. Our mission whether we would be Anglican, Roman, Eastern, Baptistic, (any of us who name Christ as Lord) is to live, move and breathe in such a way the the radiant and invisible Glory shines out to the world around us. Its a mission of lifting the Godhead high daily in a world that can be at its best indifferent to the Divine, and overtly hostile at its worst. Its a mission that is both individual and communal at once.

Our success in carrying out this mission has been extremely variable in the two millennia since receiving our marching orders. At times this radiance was blinding as saints stood in arenas, signing their testimonies in their own blood and torn flesh. Sometimes this radiance was eclipsed by our own folly of walling ourselves off from the greater world or exchanging the gold of Scripture for the pyrite of speculation and fable. Yet when God's people came to Him broken and contrite, He would restore them and His radiance would shine again like the sun.

I see three streams, as presented by Scripture as the primary means of accomplishing this mission objective: proclamation, presentation, and preparation.

The Church has been called to proclaim the Word of God. The church hasn't been called to be the herald of "social justice", preach equality (gender, sexual, or otherwise), political viewpoints (left or right), prosperity, financial freedom or anything of the sort. When this occurs, we reduce ourselves to a reflection of the world around us; one thats neither salty or bright. Rather, we're mandated to proclaim the reality of a eternal and holy Godhead, a fallen and corrupt humanity, the inexorable collision course that each are on, and the reconciliation offered by the satisfactorily atoning death of God the Son (Jesus).

The Church has been called to lift the Sacraments of our Christ, Baptism and the Eucharist. These sacraments are far more critical than we may realize. We were, in the creation, made to be primarily both visual and tactile learners. Though there is a significant degree of learning through hearing (ergo the "proclamation" of the word), the bulk of what we're come to understand came from a hands-on or eyes-on moment (e.g. We may have repeated mom's warning of a hot stove by rote, but didn't actually learn until our fingers were singed). In these Sacraments, we see the mysteries of our faith represented in an outward and visible form. We see the cleansing that is received when a life is yielded and brought under the submission of Christ. We see elements poured out and torn like the Divine body that was bad a propitiation for our sins.

Finally, there is the mandate for the Church to Equip her saints. In this equipping, the saints are given the message and tools to become change agents in their worlds. This equipping occurs through the execution of proclamation and presentation. The equipped saint is a spiritually empowered saint, one who is able to impact their circle of the world with the radically transforming power of the Gospel of our Christ.

A New Look

The Catbird Seat has been kicking around out here on the cybersod since August, 2006, launching into the blogosphere with this post. Its truly amazing what all has transpired since those fist days. One thing that hasn't changed is the site layout & design. I'm considering a "new hairstyle" for the site.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs left this realm this evening. He will be missed.

Two Weighty Questions

Someone tossed a two part question my way this morning; What is the mission of the Church and what is the greatest hindrance to that mission? My "short answer" part one is to glorify the Almighty through:

  • The Proclamation of His word

  • The Administration of His Sacraments

  • The Equipping of His Saints
My short answer to part two is we (I) are/am the greatest hindrance to this mission.

I'd like to, over the next day or so, provide a "long answer" in support of these propositions.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Wisdom of Solomon

There are a number of Blogs which your humble Catbird visits regularly. These range from the informative, to the funny, to the outrageous. The Blog, "Standing on my Head", tended by Fr. Dwight Longenecker, is up on the list of the thoughtful ones. Dwight+ apparently was born and American fundamentalist, became and Anglican cleric, and is now an RC Priest in the Carolinas. Our brother had this powerful story posted this past Monday:

"A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said: 'Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together. So the doctor said: 'OK and what do you want me to do?' She said: 'I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this.' The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: 'I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too.' She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request. Then he continued: 'You see, in order for you not to have to take care 2 babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms. The lady was horrified and said: 'No doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child! 'I agree', the doctor replied. 'But you seemed to be OK with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.' The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child who's already been born and one who's still in the womb. The crime is the same!"

The truth will set us free, but sometimes it first has to punch us in the stomach.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Question for the guys out there

Being a guy with a full head of (gray) hair, I don't have firsthand experience on this one but I still have to ask.
Is there a moment, when looking at the balding pate starring at you in the mirror, that you just need to embrace it for dignity's sake?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Study in Contrasts

Unless you've just rose from a ten-year nap, you're well aware of the solemn remembrance that occurred this past September 11. I hesitate to use the term Anniversary to describe the day, as an anniversary typically calls to mind a joyful occasion. It was a somber day to reflect and perhaps to mourn over what was wrenched from our Republic over clear mid-Atlantic skies on a September morning.
That morning two Bishops, each leader of their respective churches spoke in churches that were adjacent or close to terror targets. Jeff Walton, writing on, provides an interesting look at each Bishop's homily.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Music that Defined a Decade

The Rolling Stone Magazine has released its list of the top ten worst songs of the 90's. Wow, if you thought the 90's were a rough decade politically, with its lip-reading, "Bimbo Eruptions", and enough "gates" to fill a hardware store, wait 'til you stroll down this musical memory lane of lemons.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Worth of One Picture

I want to give props to Nikie Goomba over on the Blog, "It don't make sense" for this photo. The Economy is stagnant, August 2011 saw zero job growth and a true un/underemployment rate above sixteen percent, and a debt beyond the the scope of human comprehension. What is this guy thinking?
I'm no conspiracy theorist but I had to concede that photos like these throw dripping red meat to those who are. If I were POTUS, this is the absolute LAST BOOK I'd want to be seen with in my hand! For the love of Pete, grab a copy of the federalist papers or something by Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams or Milton Friedman.

Spiritual Empowerment

Its far more satisfying to see a though finishing in a major key, so thats where we'll be heading in this second installment on the thoughts of Spiritual Disempowerment and its remedy.

I make no claim to any thought of being the father of Spiritual Empowerment. I believe that this concept is in the very warp and woof of the New Testament, and the mission of the church. Christ's words and deeds drip of this empowerment and can be seen in the sending of the twelve and seventy, Breathing the Holy Spirit on his disciples, and in the Great Commission. The precedent of empowerment continues through the Acts of the Apostles and on through the Epistles. The burning question for now is... How can we who tend God's sheep practice Spiritual Empowerment?

First, we pray. Not in a simple or Pollyann-ish way but full-on intercession for those whom that Almighty has given us stewardship of. We pray that they would grow daily in the love and wisdom of God. We pray for their spiritual wellness that includes a life of prayer, study and meditation on the Godhead. We also pray that WE would be the leaders that God would be as WE live simultaneously Coram Deo and Coram Ecclesia.

We Lead and Model. In our stewardship to those souls charged to us, we must never rule from behind, but rather lead from the front. Saint Paul said it well when he encouraged the Corinthians to "Follow his example, as he followed the example of Christ". Someone else once said simply, "show me, don't tell me". Those being empowered should see a healthy and vibrant model of empowerment in motion. Though it might be an easy temptation to dismiss this as imitation, this very imitation is commended by Paul in his letters to the Ephesians and Thessalonians. This type of imitation is normative and will produce budding fruit in the lives of believers.

We Mentor. Spiritual Empowerment entails an investment of time in the lives of others. I requires us to sit, meet, talk, laugh, cry (sometimes), and pray with folk. This level of granularity gives us a view of their lives where we can discern through observation or listening, specific areas where they may be gifted or in the process of being gifted. With this, we can then begin to guide and direct them in the formation of these gifts.

We free them to both soar, and stink it up. I'll never forget my first sermon. It was on a Sunday morning at Dual Highway Church of God in Hagerstown Maryland. I had studied, prayed, studied and prayed some more leading up to that morning. I was going to preach the sermon that was going to launch the third "Great Awakening". It was going to have the same net effect as Edward's Sinners in the hand of an Angry God. It lasted sixteen minutes long, having the grace of a train wreck and the gravitas of a whoopee cushion. After morning worship, Pastor Al Pickerall said "you'll do better next time".
I've shared this particular story because we've all been there. Every saint has been there and those who follow after us will have been there at some stage of their lives. When this happens, we dust them off, debrief them in the spirit of charity, then point them back to the runway for another go in the pattern. If the saint is gifted in a particular area and faithfully pursuing their gift, they'll grow in that gift and will soar. We do them a horrible disservice with we tie them down under the guise of them "not being ready" to operate in their spiritual gifts.

We Empower because we've been Empowered. Saint Paul's Ephesian Letter paints a spectacular picture of Spiritual Empowerment in motion in its 4th chapter. The saints who have been prepared for spiritual works are set loose. The body grows in unity and spiritual maturity. Its no longer easy prey to the doctrines of devils. The process continues until the body on earth is joined to its head in the heavenlies.

Monday, September 05, 2011

A Labor Day Prayer

From the Book of Common Prayer on this Labor Day 2011...

Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Spiritual Disempowerment

I’ve been away from the blog over the summer. Its been a busy time of home improvement that saw the re-flooring of four rooms and a hallway (two wood & two/hall ceramic). The last time I spent any time in the seat was during the “great brisketquest of 2011”. But now, I’m back in the seat and burning up the MacBook Pro.

Recently, I had the unfortunate chance to observe spiritual disempowerment being played out. The effect was both disheartening and chilling, and I fear one that’s only begun to reverberate through the affected parish. I'll not labor the details, but it was unsettling.

So what just is “Spiritual Disempowerment”? Webster tells us that to disempower someone is to make them weak, ineffectual or unimportant. For our purposes, I’m defining spiritual disempowerment as making or causing a believer in Christ to be ineffectual, weak and under utilized within the economy of the Kingdom of God. Though certainly not the sole cause, this disempowerment is a major factor behind spiritual immaturity and failure to thrive as members of the family of God.

Disempowerment occurs when believers, gifted in their respective spiritual gift are thwarted in their proper exercise. By gifts, I refer to St. Paul’s descriptions in his writings to the churches at Rome and Corinth.

And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 1 Cor 12:28 (NIV)

Though some of these gifts are miraculous and rare, other gifts are widely given and in full operation within healthy, vibrant churches. Think about it, how could a church grow without the gifts of faith, helps, mercy, prayer, teaching or administration? You’ll find at least one of these gifts operating in a spiritually healthy saint. Its also not rare to see multiple gifts operating in God’s people. In its immediate effect, disempowered believers miss the opportunity to move, grow and mature in their gifts. The greater, farther-reaching effect is that the ministry and outreach of the local church is stymied.

I need to consider the question of why do folk spiritually disempower other believers. The answer, I feel is two-fold. There’s a willful, intentional type that is rooted in pride, envy and insecurity. The second, though less malicious, is just as dampening. This unintentional variety stems from a lack of spiritual sensitivity or awareness. Regardless, both willful and unintentional spiritual disempowerment is a church killer, driving gifted saints away from one local body and into another.

Next, I’d like to discuss our role as church leaders in empowering the saints in a way that sets them onto a path of spiritual growth, fruitful lives, and God-honoring service to the Kingdom.

Friday, September 02, 2011

A tune for a Labor Day Weekend


Its been an interesting summer, but its time to get back to blogging. I've got a few essays percolating in the back by the brainstem that'll be here in the bit stream soon. Topping this are thoughts concerning paedo- vs. credo-baptism. Having held both views, it'll be fun to put 'er out there. Too, in thinking about the coming scatstorm/turdnado (also known as decision '12), I'll be discussing how Dr. Ron Paul could be simultaneously, the best and worst man for the desk in the oval office. Finally, some thoughts as to what its gonna take to clean up the mess bequeathed to us by POTUS 44. Don't change that dial. For now, how about a little Buffet!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

A Birth Announcement

Congratulations go out this morning to Garland and Debbie Westmoreland, a fine brother and sister at Celebration Church, on the birth of their first Grandchild!
Watch over thy child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and
guide him wherever he may be. Strengthen him when he
stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise
him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which
passeth understanding abide all the days of his life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Brisketquest - IV

The journey which began last Sunday at the meat counter at BJ's has come to its conclusion. This Brisket's smokey, savory goodness is the crown jewel of this evening's celebration! Yum!

If you look carefully, you'll spot a westie who's hoping for a piece of some brisket action.


And now, the brisket enters the vertical water smoker for a 4.5 hour Hickory therapy session.

Sunday, July 03, 2011


When we last left our hero, he was completing the seasonings for the Centerpiece of Monday's Independence Day celebration. That is, a six pound beef brisket. This afternoon, the cut of meat was "rubbed" with the dry seasonings (the sweet Virginia fire).

In the foto, the brisket is already wrapped in the wrap to allow the seasoning to work its way into the cow. Rubbing the cut was a bit strange, as it felt as though one was giving a backrub to a corpse. Anyhoo, the cut is now resting in the refrigerator and will move on into the smoker tomorrow. From there, it'll become acquainted with the mopping sauce.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


This Monday's Independence Day's menu has a six-pound brisket at its centerpiece. I've learned that seasoning is just as critical as the choice of woodchips when preparing this cut. This morning, the "rub" and the "mopping sauce" were created. Let me share the recipe for each

Rub "Sweet Virginia Fire"
  • 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of chilli powder
  • 2 Tbs fresh-ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 1 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tsp ground caraway seed
Mix well and refrigerate

Mopping Sauce "Silver Bullet Baste"
  • 12 Oz Coors Light
  • 1/2 Cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1Tbs Texas Pete
  • 1Tsp fresh-ground pepper
  • 1Tsp chili powder
  • 1Tsp crushed oregano
  • 1/2Tsp Cayenne pepper
Mix well and refrigerate for 24 hours or more to allow for the flavors to coalesce

Tomorrow... The Rub begins.

Monday, June 27, 2011

If Necessity is the Mother of Invention, Duct Tape is its Godparent.

It's June. June means that its time to roll out the Intex pool for Austin. When you're five and a halfpint, a ten foot pool is a big affair. At this stage in your life, you can just about do laps in the thing.

I love this pool. The geniuses who designed it created what's ostensibly a non-rigid structure, the Goodyear Blimp of pools. The inflatable ring at the top serves to provide its initial form. Then, as the pool fills, the ring floats on the water to the point where it reaches capacity. It has a small filtration system that can also hold the chlorine tabs, preventing your one thousand gallons of water from becoming a soupy aquatic mess. The pool would be perfect were in not for the inflating of the ring.

Last year, it took close to ninety minutes to inflate the ring using a combination of lung, pump and air compressor power. This is not a fun way to spend a hot, humid afternoon. It was at this moment where the old Deacon had a brainstorm.

I'd seen sites on the web built to celebrate feats of Redneck Engineering. Some things were ingenious while others were deathtraps. So then, with the idea in place, it was off to the garage to retrieve the leaf blower, a funnel and the sacramental item linked to all redneck engineering efforts... Duct Tape.

The idea worked like a charm (refreshing as these things apparently go awry most times). I was careful to start the blower on its lowest speed, not knowing how the narrowed aperture would affect the blower motor. The motor was tweeked up to around 50% power output with no issues. The ring that took nearly ninety minutes to inflate last year was fully inflated within four minutes. Gotta love that Duct Tape!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Empowerment, Growth & Maturity

Its a beautiful Saturday morning here in Suburbia Majora. Its the type of day for gardening, yard work, and a soak in the pool. Thats not happening here, as family has dropped in from out of state and Mrs. Catbird and I are playing docent at a local museum.

I've been thinking this week (a novel exercise?). I had a front row seat at an event that, though very uncomfortable to watch, caused me to think about personal empowerment within the family of Faith. I want to touch on this in the post(s) that will follow this one. I'd like to consider empowerment versus toxic disempowerment.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Meet Emmanuel Goldstein, 2011

I have to confess something, something that drives me absolutely bat-scat crazy. Its the fact that the chattering class on the left has consistently, and falsely billed Mr. Orwell's cautionary tale, 1984, as a story of Conservative Totalitarianism. This is a misrepresentation of facts that could, if you'll have it, come right off the pages of Mr. Orwell's opus. Mr. Orwell, like many idealists of his generation, were caught up in the socialist fervor that held the world in sway in the early decades of the last Century. But when socialism began to show itself as the hellspawn it is, Orwell began to sound the alarm in works like Animal Farm, and the seminal 1984.

In 1984, we're introduced to a shadowy boogeyman named Emmanuel Goldstein. Goldstein has been made a pariah-enemy of Oceania, one so odious that daily at a prescribed time, all production stops in order that "two minutes of hate" may be directed against Goldstein.

The longer I watch the rotting cancer of socialism spread through our Republic like a caustic acid, the more I see the unfolding of Orwell's dystopic vision unfold. The mainstream media has become to the Cult of O, what the Ministry of Truth was for Big Brother. By and large, these blatherskites have become an official organ of Amsoc. I think a hallmark of this their fetish for "Palin loathing".

Mrs. Palin's meteoric rise to prominence in the summer of 2008 sent the left, and in particular, feminists into a protracted apoplectic spasm. This is curious as in my life, I've seen only a handful of women capable of this. I've looked at the rage from many angles and have reached a possible explanation; Mrs. Sarah Palin has successfully accomplished what the feminist has failed to do for all of her best effort. She has proven to be a successful wife, mother, entrepreneur, and leader. She has accomplished this without the need to sacrifice her children on the altar of success, or castrating her husband. Too, no fetuses were harmed in the making of Mrs. Palin. For all of her best efforts, a FOIA request has been made with the State of Alaska for her e-mails. Knowing the purity of their motives, this cynical move has been done in a feverish effort to further marginalize the Grizzly Mama.

Let me finish simply by saying that if the presidential election were today, next week or next month, I would not be voting for Mrs. Palin. My likely choice for Chief Executive at this moment would be Mr. Herman Cain, a bright, visionary leader with more integrity in his left foot than most. For all of her admirable traits and potential, Mrs. Palin is still a work in progress who like an early 1970's Ronald Reagan, could well develop into a leader of epic proportions.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

May 5th, 2011

In a little more than an hour, I'll be in front of a Federal Building on Garrisonville RD, leading my second National Day of Prayer observance. I hope that this is the beginning of a long-standing tradition. To be truthful, it was hoping against hope that we'd be able to have this observation today, given the lower court's decision last year on the constitutionality of the proclamation to national prayer and this administration's seeming animus towards the Judeo-Christian expression of faith. But by God's grace, the lower court's decision was struck and today, faithful will be out in force to intercede for their country.

Perhaps (in my lifetime), I've seen no more darker time in our Republic's history where we are in severe need for Divine intervention (the merciful type), yet I fear that without a course correction, there will be intervention and its not going to be nice. Why? Por que? the President pretty well summed it up when he confidently declared in Cairo that "We're not a Christian Nation." When a nation forgets God, its a horrible thing. Yet I believe that there are faithful citizens of this republic, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and Orthodox Jew who like the men of Issachar, are watchers of the times and are in intercession for this great Divine Experiment.

Find time to lift up this Republic today.

Almighty and ever-living God, we thank you for the privilege to gather before you to intercede on behalf of our nation. We thank you too, for the burden you’ve placed in our hearts for this land, and for our fellow citizens.

As we gather, we stand in the shadow of those who’ve come before us. We gaze through history’s rearview mirror and see how our fathers sought you at the birth of our nation. We see too Lord, your providential hands that nourished and protected the young nation. In times of both plenty and peril, our predecessors knew you to be their source of provision, protection and guidance.

Today, as in other times, we find ourselves Lord, in a moment of peril and trial. Our nation is at war with an enemy who would see our way of life destroyed. We’re faced with seeming insurmountable economic woes, and a legislature at loggerheads. Surely Lord, we need your hand in such a time as today.

We ask that you might first move within our lives, that we would be used as change agents for good. We pray that we might become channels of your peace and mercy to those you’ve placed in our lives and paths. Our prayer too, as public servants, is that through your help, we will be faithful and diligent stewards of the nation and its collective trust.

This morning, we remember or friend and co-workers who have been afflicted in body, especially Wendy. Reach them in your compassionate hands, embrace them and minister comfort and healing to them and their loved ones.

We lift up those who govern and lead this nation. We ask that those elected would always place stewardship and statesmanship ahead of ambition and strife; in so that they might be sensitive to your leading. In this, that our nation might be that shining city on the hill; a beacon of hope for all nations.

Finally Lord, we seek your protection against our enemies. Not because we are deserving, but because you are one whose first principles include mercy and lovingkindness. Protect us not only from our enemies, but from ourselves that we might not only be recipients stewards of your blessings in this day, but be able to bequeath your bounty to those who will follow after us.

All of this, we ask, seek and hope for in your name.


Monday, May 02, 2011

On a Monday in May

Usama Bin Laden

Its very early on a Monday morning, and I've just learned via text that Usama Bin Laden has met his end. This is a moment that is "Sweet-bitter". This man has a sea of blood on his hands, a fact that can't be denied. Clearly, he was guilty of crimes against humanity and warranted the ultimate penalty for his crimes. Yet, he is a lost soul that has slipped into hell and a soul that is eternally lost.
We who hold the truth of the Gospel, and the Great Commission need to work harder than ever to proclaim the message that leads to eternal life. We must shout the counterpoint to radical Islam from the housetops and offer the message of eternal life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Sermon on the Plain -- A Catbird's Take

This one's a bit late getting posted. Just the same, your humble Deacon's take on Saint Luke's account of the Sermon on the Plain. Be blessed...

Monday, April 04, 2011

Funeral Homily, April 2, 2011

Note: The following was delivered at West Laurel Hills cemetary in Bala Cynwyd Pennsylvania. Names have been removed.

We find ourselves gathered here today, in a bittersweet celebration of the life and memory of (The Departed). She’s been known formally (And informally by many names).

(Her) journey began early last Century at a time when men were slipping the bounds of this earth and soaring into the skies on delicate machines constructed from wood and canvas. It was a time when through harnessing the elements; they were beginning to communicate across vast expanses of Empty Ocean in the language of Mr. Morse’s Code. Daredevils could take to country roads outside of Philadelphia and travel at blistering speeds of 45 MPH in Mr. Ford’s Model T. But it was a frightening time too, as for the first time in modern history; it seemed that the entire civilized world was now at war. Just weeks prior to her birth, her nation had declared war on the central powers and entered the “war to end all wars”. (She)entered adulthood, only to find herself fleeing Europe on one of the last ships leaving as the black tide of Nazism was sweeping across the continent.

Our Lord, through his providential hand brought (Her) back to our side of the Atlantic where she would meet her husband-to-be. , Ultimately, she would find herself settled in Summit, New Jersey where her family ultimately grew to include three children, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. During one of her last conversations, she asked that they’d know how “she’d really loved knowing them, and expressed her wishes for their happiness, success, and joy.”

When it became clear that (Her) sojourn here was coming to its conclusion, those who loved her were burdened with the question of whether she was ready to undertake the next leg of her journey. She had spoke of her daughter(‘s) passing on a few occasions. She spoke of her desire to be reunited with (Her) in Heaven. Though she maintained a relationship with her church throughout her life, (She) knew that she’d never taken that same faith-affirming step taken by (Her daughter) which gave her, based on Holy Scripture, absolute assurance of her eternal destiny. Subsequently, in quiet prayer with a minister in the hospital, (She) declared her need for Jesus to be her savior and redeemer, and trusted in his sacrifice made on her behalf. This wasn’t a desperate act on the part of someone who was fearfully facing the unknown; (She) was a woman who had faced the uncertainty of terminal illness before. She shared that she had quietly placed her trust in Christ a few years prior when facing cancer. Though perhaps unknown to her at the time, she called upon a God who promised to “never leave or forsake her” and as the seasons were changing, He was there. This was a faith in the person of Jesus, the only Son of God the Most High. It was a faith in His promises and comforting words to those who would embrace him as their champion and redeemer. It was a trust that believed that, not only would this Jesus keep His promises, but that His sacrifice would be sufficient to wash away her sins both willful and genetic. Then the time came and (She) closed her eyes. Saint Paul spoke of this moment; she was now in the presence of the Father and the Son.

This afternoon, as we brace ourselves against the chill of this early Pennsylvanian Spring, (She) now not only dwells, but dances in the light and presence of the Holy and Almighty Trinity. This is a place of many dwelling places, prepared by Jesus Himself for all those who would trust in His promises. She rests in the presence of the Almighty, and will accompany him on that great day when He recreates heaven and earth, declaring all things “New”. Truly for (Her); this isn’t an end; it’s a beginning that will be forever beginning. Perhaps the greatest promise of all is that though (Her) spirit dwells in the presence of the Divine, a moment is coming, described by Saint Paul, where the elements that represent her earthly body will be raised and transformed to a body that will know no age, no illness, no debilitating disease or defect.

Will we see (Her) again? Can we share in the joy that she now knows? Succinctly, yes. The comfortable words that arrested (Her) were spoken for us too. Jesus, looking across an assembled crowd confidently declared:

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

He further declared:

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

Today, in the light of this Saturday afternoon, if we would place our hope in the message and the messenger, that messenger being God’s only Son, no only will we see (The Departed) once more but we’ll share in truth she trusted in and now knows perfectly.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Catbird TV, April 2, 2011

Today marked a first in my Diaconal ministry. At 2:30PM, I had the solemn honor to preside over the funeral of a 93 year-old saint who lived a life that was nothing short of being remarkable. She lived big and finished well!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On a Thursday in Lent

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Embarking on a Lenten Journey – Part One

Is it me, or are these seasons coming at us with ever-increasing speed?

I woke this morning to find myself 72 hours into the forty-day trek of Lent. In the quiet that exists between the alarm clock and the stirring of the Terriers, I thought of how my understanding of this season has evolved over the years. As a child and pre-teen, it was little more than meatless Fridays and some vague notion of giving something up, like chewing gum. It also meant attending strange masses that involved ashes and kissing the crucifix. It wasn’t a total drag, due to the knowledge that there was a big basket of candy at the end of the road, and the hopes that this year, there’d be a “solid” chocolate Easter bunny in the basket.

Early adulthood took me into the dry steppes of American Pentecostalism where sadly, I eschewed Lent as a “romish superstition”. I can look back in retrospect at this life season and understand that it was heavily influenced by theologically illiterate preachers and a toxic diet of Jack Chick, the American Iconoclast. (I could devote volumes to this man and the damage he has wrought in the lives of unsuspecting believers, but I digress.) Though I regret this wasted period, I have to believe that the Almighty was taking it and using it for His purposes.

Early in the last Decade, my attentions were turned back to the thought of Lent. Though still entrenched within the Pentecostal zeitgeist, a seasonal concept was re-emerging. Lent began to take on a contemplative, devotional character, especially during Holy week. I would focus in on the Gospel narratives that took place between the Triumphal Entry and the Crucifixion. Good Friday became a highly focused day as I would look at the clock and mentally replay the events as recorded by the four Evangelists. Again in retrospect, I see a “Divine Guiding” of my understanding of these Forty Days.

So, what of Lent today in March 2011 Deacon? Lent has become a season of “Re’s”. It’s a reminder that I was conceived in sin and born completely fallen and broken. I have nothing good within me in which to bring to the table or to stand before a Holy, Almighty God. If I’m ever to have a hope in this life or the next, I need a Redeemer and Advocate who stands before the Supreme as propitiation. It’s a time of Refocusing, where one must consider who they are in Christ and His kingdom. Its forty days to ponder a calling and vocation. Finally, I’ve understood the season as a time of renewal and revival. These forty days are an opportunity to yield oneself to the Almighty, seeking to have a “right spirit renewed within” as the Psalmist says. In this yielding, we have the opportunity to experience true revival within our lives.

So, a Blessed Lent to all in 2011.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Going way, way back Tonight

This one takes me all the way back to Wednesday night youth group meetings on Governor's Ave in Dover, DE.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

From the Pulpit

We're in the beginning of a sermon series from the Gospel of Luke at Celebration Church. Previously, we were three weeks in the Desert with the Temptation of Christ. This Sunday, The Master is out of the Desert and in Nazareth. Your humble Deacon will reflect on this vignette from Luke's Gospel.