Thursday, August 23, 2018

Insights from the Vicar of Grahamville

James Gibson, Vicar of Church of the Holy Trinity, Grahamville in Ridgeland, South Carolina, shares some insights in this essay on the Mass. I found it especially insightful as I'm the one who bids the dismissal as Deacon at the end of the Eucharistic celebration. You can read it here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wednesday Reverie

Over the years, I've found most of Pink Floyd's music to be dark and despairing.  Yet, "Wish you were here" is a tune that resonates deep in my psyche for some reason.  It speaks to the ache of friends lost to both death and estrangement, and the void their absence has left in our lives.  My faith blunts this loss in the fact that I'm confident that the separation will not be permanent and I will see them again.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Genius that is Jeff Lynne

There are two musical Titans in my musical life story, the second of which is Jeff Lynne of The Move, and later, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).  As far as the North American charts go, their Out of the Blue project probably represented an apex in popular exposure.  This two LP set contained "A Concerto for a Rainy Day" on side three, where "Mr. Blue Sky" was the last movement of the Concerto.  Jeff shares some insights on that particular piece.  

Indeed, Mister Blue, you did it right...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Genius that is Mike Oldfield

Those know me, those who've followed this Blog, or who've known me through Facebook or other social media are well-aware of my deep appreciation for the talents of the British recording artist Mike Oldfield.  I became a fan while in Elementary School when I'd first heard his single,"Tubular Bells" on Coatesville's AM 1420, WCOJ back in late 1973.  The song, to Mike Oldfield's chagrin, almost immediately became known as "The theme from The Exorcist".  

In this brief video, with Dutch subtitles, Mike shares the story behind the genesis of his iconic composition.  To the loss true audiophiles, most American listeners have only heard the first three and a half minutes of the work, missing out on its fullness.  Enjoy.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Reverie

A reminder, we're on a timeline and what we know will someday be transformed in an instant when He will return, to judge the quick and the dead; the point where the Kingdom will have no end.

Answer, if you hear a call today.

Two Sides of the Same Bad Penny

This weekend marks the anniversary of an ugly chapter in our recent American History, one that pitted two diverse groups of Americans on the hot streets of the Old Dominion.  The event, which occurred a year ago has yet to have been properly engaged and has served only as a fault line from which Americans continue to attack one another.  
Last August, Charlottesville Virginia became a flashpoint as two schools of Socialism, National and International, used the pretext of historic monuments to clash in the streets.  Their combined behavior diminished our image as a land of stability and safety.  Today, "AntiFa" and a mulligan's stew of white supremacist groups will converge on D.C's Lafayette Square to out-obnoxious one another, tarring our already strained national dialogue.

AntiFa, a group who's name seems to fall straight from the pages of Orwell's 1984.  While claiming ostensibly to stand in opposition to Fascism, they seem to adhere to the tactics and conduct of the European Fascists of the last Century.  Like the Klan, they also hide behind masks lest reasonable freedom-loving Americans would see their adherents for who they really are.  Politically, their leanings align with the Socialist International and is diametrically opposed to the historic democratic republican ideals from which the American Republic was born.  The White Nationalists, or "Alt-Right" on the other hand, have been described many as "American Nazis", and this description well-earned for many reasons.  This confederation has veiled their ethnic and racial animus behind the veneer of American Patriotism in ways which are quite similar to their Munich-based forerunners from a Century ago as well. Though progressive pundits have identified them with the classical conservative movement, there is nothing that is "Conservative" or "Right" about them at all. Like the Fascism of AntiFa, they too are rooted in thought that is thoroughly un-American.  In the spirit of truth in advertising, naming them as the Faux-Right would be a far better descriptive label.  They're not an alternative expression of Conservatism, they purposely and thoroughly misrepresent that worldview.

Left to their own devices, both of these Socialist elements, National & International, could drag our Republic into the dystopia of post-Imperial/ante-Weimar Germany as they spill into our streets to battle for the hearts and minds of America.  If either side were to succeed, it would be enlarge part due to the apathy of the vast middle of the spectrum who don't grasp just what is at stake.

Understand this as well; both antebellum southern monuments/relics, and the Donald Trump presidency are little more than straw men and pretexts in all of this.  National & International Socialism have been at odds with one another since their inception and will continue to battle for dominance within the marketplace of ideas.

Today's rally in Washington must serve as a wakeup call to both classical conservatives and liberals alike.  Both parties need to speak in one voice, repudiating both AntiFa and all strains of ethno-Nationalism.  True American patriotism knows no race, creed, or color.  It can serve as a bulwark against those who seek to divide us by race, gender, or class.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Sunday Reverie

Its been one of those Sunday's where it becomes so helpful to meditate on the words and music of Rich Mullins, Troubadour for the Lord. 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

To be an Anglican Hooligan

(c) 2008 Anglican Hooligan Shoppe
(Author's Note:  The following essay has been percolating in my brain now for nearly a decade.  It was the recent experience of the Rector of New Creation Anglican Church in Hagerstown, MD which finally inspired me to place the fingers to the keyboard and type away.  Hat's off Father Justin, and hat's off Father Gerry for the entire idea of the Anglican Hooligan.)

 Time has a way of zipping by in a blur, yet there are some things that stick out in one's memory.  It was back in 2007/2008 during my then nascent rebirth into the Anglican Faith, and I was searching out some "witness wear" to tell the world that this one-time Pentecostal Preacher had traded the sawdust, for the Canterbury Trail.  In searching the internet for T-shirts, I found one that jumped off the screen and said click on me please!  It was a white, sleeveless T-shirt emblazoned with a Celtic Cross, flanked by two figures who I perceived to be Augustine, overlaid onto a pair of open wings.  Perfect for showcasing ones guns in the gym while speaking to ones spiritual zeitgeist.  In retrospect, my guns were larger in my mind than in reality. A Decade later and though I'm beyond wearing that T anywhere away from the pool or hot tub, I'm still drawn to its simplistic but powerful message.

The expression, "Anglican Hooligan" easily creates a dichotomy.  The words themselves at first take seem absolutely antithetical to one another.  The word Hooligan conjures up pictures of a rough, rowdy and unrefined sort who lowers the property value of whichever neighborhood they move into.  "Anglican" on the other hand paints a more refined image.  Polite to a fault, ensconced in Tweed and faintly smelling of pipe smoke; one might typically envision the Anglican as a gentle, unoffending sort who'll go to great lengths to preserve order and tranquility; one who goes along to get along. Many Americans too, have a misunderstanding of Anglicanism in general that can be born out of either ignorance or prejudice, depending on how its manifested.  On numerous occasions, I've had people say, upon learning of my Faith expression,say something along the lines of "Aren't you people just like 'Catholics'?" or with a whiff of derision, "you people are pretty much 'Catholic-lite"anyway, right?".  And of course today, now that the executive leadership of the American Episcopal Church is finding itself to the Theological and Social Left of the Unitarian Universalists, many of these same people will dismiss Anglicanism altogether as a sub-christian sect.   But even for those who have a grounded understanding of Anglicanism, the term can be incongruent.  The couplet can almost seem to create the image of Andy Capp meeting the Vicar.  For a moment or two, take this invitation to reimagine the moniker in light of some historic truths.

Christianity was spread through the world by men whom polite society would have easily considered Hooligans; crude hayseeds and fishermen who came into towns and cities, upsetting the settled order with strange doctrines.  These men and women were bold, unapologetic, and unafraid.  They engaged and rocked their worlds without fear of reprisal, often to their own demise.  This same spirit was evidenced in the Sixteenth Century with the birth of Anglicanism.  When Mary Tudor attempted to extinguish the flame of Anglicanism through her own backfires, kindled with the bodies of the faithful, "protestant hooligans" chose death over the shame or recantation.  In our own time, we're surrounded by Anglican leaders who stood the red line over the issue of historic orthodox Christianity when many of their peers were  either willfully surrendering, or simply acquiescing to the social and cultural mores of our day.  I consider these facts in the light of the Eleventh & Twelfth Chapters of the Letter to the Hebrews and see a cloud of witness that continues to grow larger by the day.

So, how are we to make application of this as we live out or lives as Third Millennium Anglicans?  Whether we live on the Left Coast, in Hagerstown, Suburbia Majora, or in your town, the guiding principals remain the same.  To be a fruitful, reproducing Christian is to live out one's life in a scrum.  We are called to move the Kingdom down field to the goal, which will be actualized when our Messiah and Lord makes his ultimate return; that day when, as stated in the historic creeds, "He will come again to judge the quick and the dead, and that His kingdom will have no end."  Yet the fact that we exist in this scrum implies that there is an opposing side to the scrum that is working at cross purposes to staunch the forward momentum of our line.  This triad of the World's system, our own fleshly nature, and our Adversary the Accuser is working tirelessly to blunt, slow and stop our forward momentum for the Kingdom of God.  Clearly, this is not a place for the timid who've no stomach for the struggle.  The Casper Milquetoast follower won't survive for very long in this scrum and will be shoved to the sideline, and rendered ineffective. 

So, to be an Anglican Hooligan is to move forward without fear, possessing only the fear of the Lord (to do so otherwise is mere arrogance, not fearlessness).  Understand, Though I've written this from the perspective of an Anglican, these principles are universal to any orthodox expression of Christianity.  Regardless of your worshipping community, you've been called to move forward in faith, with full confidence in the one who called and redeemed you, and continues to empower you through His Holy Spirit.

Game on Hooligan!  keep plowing down field until you hear the final whistle.  Maranatha!