Archive for February, 2016



19
Feb
16

2.19.16 … guide my path, fire my imagination, and open my heart to the deep and penetrating questions of life …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 10/40), Mercer University – Atlanta campus, Atlanta GA:

Perfect weather … 62 and sunny.
Setting sun …
Crunch, crunch, crunch

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I read the first passage in the Meditations For Holy Week  and Walking the Labyrinth today because I just discovered it yesterday. It ended with the suggestion that you ponder who is this Jesus and what difference does he make in my life. In addition there was a prayer and in that prayer I was asked to pray that God would guide my path, fire my imagination. All good things to ponder while I walk.

We may not know the mind of Jesus, but we may trust the presence of God to walk with us through devastating moments and dark nights of the soul that disrupt and change our lives.

Walking the Labyrinth
Today as you walk the labyrinth imagine you are present at the first Palm procession. Put yourself into the story and see the crowds around Jesus walking toward Jerusalem on the way to the Passover festival (see John 12). As you walk along are you ahead of him or behind? What shouts come from your lips? Are you a follower, a reluctant watcher, or a studious observer of Jesus of Nazareth? Notice, as you enter the city, the impact of the processional. What is all the turmoil about? What turmoil has been part of your life lately? What turmoil have you witnessed in the lives of others? Where do you sense God’s presence in these circumstances? As you continue through the labyrinth ponder this question from the crowds with reference to your own life: “Who is this Jesus and what difference does my answer make?”

Prayer: O God, in this Holiest of Weeks, guide my path, fire my imagination, and open my heart to the deep and penetrating questions of life.
http://www.sitemason.com/files/k/kxNC24/holy%20week%20meditation.PDF

Warp Drive,  Atlas Obscura:  This pun was simply waiting to come to life, and one defense contractor made it so ..

 

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Driving down Route 28 in Dulles, Virginia, those with their sensors on full might notice a road sign that promises to catapult them to warp speed, but really it is just a clever attempt by an aerospace company to get people to like them.

Source: Warp Drive | Atlas Obscura

 

 

Lent is for Presbyterians, too: Creative, connectional disciplines , The Presbyterian Outlook:

Disciplines. Some Presbyterians think of Lent not in terms of “giving up” something (Facebook, coffee, alcohol, sweets) but in becoming more committed to practicing a spiritual discipline — including the traditional ones of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. “This is not a forced discipline,” said Jennifer Lord, a professor of homiletics and liturgical studies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, but discovering “What’s the gift in this?” of a consistent spiritual practice. Some focus on the contemplative — beginning and ending each day with a time of prayer or silent mediation, or praying the liturgy of the hours (set times of devotion throughout the day — done in communion with others praying around the world). Some congregations hold Wednesday night soup suppers with a different charity designated each week to receive donations. Westminster Presbyterian in Durham last year used the weeks of Lent to introduce congregants to six spiritual practices. Since then, some of those practices, particularly silent meditation, have been incorporated into other aspects of church life — such as an Advent study looking at opposites, including chaos and calm; making space and filling space; suffering and joy; darkness and light. “My sense is that sometimes these practices can get connected to a particular faith tradition that might not be our own faith tradition,” so Presbyterians don’t naturally consider them, said Heather Ferguson, Westminster’s director of Christian education. When they learn some of the history, they find “actually it’s rooted much more deeply in our tradition” — so some begin to make space. She has found that silent meditation practices resonate with “a wide variety of people — male and female, older, younger, those with children, those without, empty nesters.” Westminster offers a silent campus during Holy Week — with no committee meetings and with the staff practicing stillness, calm and quiet. Some (including one extrovert from her congregation who lives alone) find the experience of collectively being in centering prayer or sitting in silence with other people to be powerful. Lectio divina — a meditative focus on a particular passage of Scripture — appeals to some who fear they don’t know enough about the Bible to contribute much or feel comfortable in a discussion-based Bible study, Ferguson said. Her hope was that at the end of Lent, “they would walk away with just one little thing they might try” the rest of the year. “Invariably there are a lot of chaotic things going on, either in the news or the lives of people. We try to give them some options for practices they can do that fit with whatever they’re experiencing.”

Source: Lent is for Presbyterians, too: Creative, connectional disciplines – The Presbyterian 

 

18
Feb
16

2.18.16 … “We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. ” – TS Eliot

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 9/40), Davidson College Labyrinth – Davidson NC, Hobart Park:

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Will have a little bit of time today before meeting Molly for lunch at Kindred. I thought about striking out to find a new labyrinth. But I thought again and decided on such a glorious day it would be very nice to spend a little time on Davidson’s campus.

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The labyrinth is not exactly peaceful right now. There is a major construction project just on the other side of Faculty Drive. As I walk the labyrinth, I noticed several of the construction workers looking at me strangely. I always want to ask them if they’d like to walk. One day I will.

 

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As I completed my walk, I rang the Japanese bell. I’ve taped it. It really does make a nice way to end a walk.

Afterwards, a quick drive around campus.  Hello, Tom!

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 Walking the Labyrinth, Matt Rawle: 

I remember the first time my mind wandered aimlessly

Pacing the turns inwardly while releasing

My fears and transgressions with each step accompanied breath

The Spirit unfettered, wholly showing me the quest

With my feet unbridled,

I idled at the entrance

Penitent and unworthy to tread with God’s presence

Unknowing what’s before me, I bravely try to stride

On the path of my past I hold fast to hide

On the first purple line the silence is deafening

The candle wicks flicker, the only light transpiring

Guiding me pensively toward my first inward turn

With the world now behind me, my thoughts unfurl

Is beauty universally seen alike in all eyes?

Is beauty left to context, morality, or time?

Is beauty a Godly thing, the Trinity’s inner splendor?

Or is it human construct based in race, class, or gender?

Revelations abound drowning out my reality

As the labyrinth’s simple path winds almost seamlessly

Begging the question of what’s melting away

Is it reality or falsity that’s truly giving way?

Source: Walking the Labyrinth – Matt Rawle

 

Ash Wednesday Labyrinth Idea:

From the ashes of this world you were born to journey with God.  Eventually from the gift that is your life,  So will you return to the the ashes of this world. Now, as you receive these ashes tonight,  may you be reminded that  however many or few years available to each of us, Life is short and we do not have too much time To bring joy to the hearts of those who travel this way with us. So be swift to love! Make haste to be kind. In the gifts of grace and peace which Gd offers to all of Gd’s children. Amen.

Source: Ash Wednesday Labyrinth Idea

 Kindred Restaurant, James Beard Award Semifinalist,   Charlotte Magazine:  I’ve been 4 times and I must admit until today, I had something that was fantastic, but I also had something that not great, marginal at best.  So I went again for lunch today and told my waitress Tia of my previous experiences.  She made sure I had an exceptional experience.

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Joe and Katy Kindred opened their Main Street restaurant early last year, quickly gaining national attention when Bon Appetit magazine named them one of 2015’s best new restaurants. With that number seven slot, expectations (and hopes) rose. Charlotte has not had a James Beard Semifinalist since 2009, when Chefs Bruce Moffett and Mark Hibbs (who no longer resides here), both made the list. While many things could change for the Kindreds with today’s announcement, we expect that their priorities won’t be one of them. When I reached out for a response to the breaking news, Joe asked for a little time. The reason: he was on baby watch. The Kindreds not only opened a restaurant that garnered national attention over the last year, they also welcomed their third child, Graydon James, to the family. Graydon’s middle name comes from Joe’s longtime mentor and friend, Chef Jim Noble of Rooster’s. Also unlikely to change: Kindred’s family restaurant mentality. Although the category is titled ‘Best Chef, Southeast,’ Joe is quick to recognize the entire restaurant staff, making it clear he could not have gotten to this point alone. Says Kindred of the news, which he learned at the same time as everyone else: “I’m still just trying to soak it all in. I don’t really think it’s hit yet.” Perhaps it will by this Friday, when Kindred restaurant celebrates its first birthday.

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Source: Kindred Restaurant Named James Beard Award Semifinalist – Charlotte Magazine – March 2016 – Charlotte, NC

A little Lenten history, The Presbyterian Outlook:

For some Presbyterians, celebrating Lent is not intuitive — it may not have been part of their family’s pattern growing up. It is, however, connected to the way in which the Christian celebration of Easter evolved. “What is most helpful for all Christians and Presbyterians in particular to remember is that the time of Lent came into being after Easter was decided upon as an annual celebration,” said Jennifer Lord, a professor of homiletics and liturgical studies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. “We think early on that the Christians celebrated Easter, celebrated resurrection, weekly.” The Council of Nicea, in 325, set Easter as an annual celebration tied to the timing of Passover — a link to the Jewish tradition of following the lunar calendar. Easter is set for the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon after the spring equinox. “The development of Lent was to prepare people to be baptized on Easter,” Lord said. At that time, baptism was for adults, and Lent became 40 days of baptismal preparation — counting the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, except for the Sundays in Lent, because “Sunday is always resurrection liturgically,” Lord said. In the Christian tradition, the number 40 is significant, “being this great number, used again and again … 40 in the Old Testament is always signifying time beyond time, this extraordinary time.”

Source: A little Lenten history – The Presbyterian Outlook

Lent is for Presbyterians too, creative connectional disciplines, The Presbyterian Outlook:

Disciplines. Some Presbyterians think of Lent not in terms of “giving up” something (Facebook, coffee, alcohol, sweets) but in becoming more committed to practicing a spiritual discipline — including the traditional ones of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. “This is not a forced discipline,” said Jennifer Lord, a professor of homiletics and liturgical studies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, but discovering “What’s the gift in this?” of a consistent spiritual practice. Some focus on the contemplative — beginning and ending each day with a time of prayer or silent mediation, or praying the liturgy of the hours (set times of devotion throughout the day — done in communion with others praying around the world). Some congregations hold Wednesday night soup suppers with a different charity designated each week to receive donations. Westminster Presbyterian in Durham last year used the weeks of Lent to introduce congregants to six spiritual practices. Since then, some of those practices, particularly silent meditation, have been incorporated into other aspects of church life — such as an Advent study looking at opposites, including chaos and calm; making space and filling space; suffering and joy; darkness and light. “My sense is that sometimes these practices can get connected to a particular faith tradition that might not be our own faith tradition,” so Presbyterians don’t naturally consider them, said Heather Ferguson, Westminster’s director of Christian education. When they learn some of the history, they find “actually it’s rooted much more deeply in our tradition” — so some begin to make space. She has found that silent meditation practices resonate with “a wide variety of people — male and female, older, younger, those with children, those without, empty nesters.” Westminster offers a silent campus during Holy Week — with no committee meetings and with the staff practicing stillness, calm and quiet. Some (including one extrovert from her congregation who lives alone) find the experience of collectively being in centering prayer or sitting in silence with other people to be powerful. Lectio divina — a meditative focus on a particular passage of Scripture — appeals to some who fear they don’t know enough about the Bible to contribute much or feel comfortable in a discussion-based Bible study, Ferguson said. Her hope was that at the end of Lent, “they would walk away with just one little thing they might try” the rest of the year. “Invariably there are a lot of chaotic things going on, either in the news or the lives of people. We try to give them some options for practices they can do that fit with whatever they’re experiencing.”

Source: Lent is for Presbyterians, too: Creative, connectional disciplines – The Presbyterian Outlook

Anatomy of a Scene: Darcy’s (first) Proposal: A look at how three adaptations of Pride and Prejudice handle the first proposal scene.

 

 

But imprinting aside, I believe there’s a reason Colin Firth is the Darcy of our hearts (and it’s not just his lush head of curls, strong chin, or his wet shirt). Firth gets it. He gets what makes Darcy tick and what makes his female audience tick: a throbbing heart trapped under layers of shyness, pretension, and social convention a meter thick. Up until this point Firth gives a relatively restrained performance but in this scene his Darcy literally cannot sit still. When he comes to call on Elizabeth at the Collins’ home, she sits down and invites him to follow suit. He does, for a moment, but he’s immediately up again. He literally cannot sit still: one minute he paces the room and the next turning to face Elizabeth, and then the next turning his back on her. Firth’s performance gives the impression of a man beside himself; a man overcome, undone, and nearly helpless. Ehle’s Elizabeth, by contrast, barely moves, the controlled flash of an eye or tilt of the chin conveying the range of emotions she is experiencing. The actors’ performances, combined with Langton’s skilled blocking, suggest the power dynamics between Lizzie and Darcy. Throughout the scene, Elizabeth is seated while Darcy stands but rather than shoring up Darcy’s power, this contrast undermines it. Darcy may have the higher some interesting standing, but he is still the one literally out of control. Elizabeth can remain seated and still have command of the scene. Firth’s delivery mirrors this indecisive, frenetic action. Several times he opens his mouth to speak before thinking the better of it. By the time he actually does work up the courage, he’s practically gasping. His line delivery, always clipped and abrupt, is hurried here, as if he is trying to push the words out of his mouth to get it all over with.

 

Source: Anatomy of a Scene: Darcy’s (first) Proposal

 

 

 

 

17
Feb
16

2.17.16 … Warning! never Consider the Labyrinth Either As a Game or as a Selfish Exercise. Walk It Sensibly, Slowly, Without Stopping, And With Awareness of Others …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 8/40), Chartres Silk Scarf “Finger Labyrinth” @ Home – Charlotte:

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An interesting “walk”  … I saw my scarf from Chartres Cathedral  which I wear every once in a while, and I thought it might be fun.  So I got out my pictures from Chartres Cathedral. Included in my pictures is a short video I took while walking at Chartres.  It was very interesting because I could hear my footsteps in the cathedral.

As I retraced my Chartres walks, I reread the prayer I read as I walked two years ago.

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I also read the information signs that I saw at the Cathedral.  This one was  especially interesting.  IMG_0433

A few pictures from August 2014 …

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2.17.16

Justice Antonin Scalia, Foundation for Reformed Theology, Dr. James C. Goodloe, funerals: It will be interesting to learn what is said at Justice Scalia’s funeral in light of this letter. Thanks, Bill Wood for sharing.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the following about the funeral of Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and even more about the importance of preaching–especially at a funeral!–preaching the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the eternal life which follows from that. ————————————————————————————–

 

Supreme Court of the United States Washington, D. C. 20543

CHAMBERS OF JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA

September 1, 1998

Dr. James C. Goodloe

Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church

1627 Monument Avenue

Richmond, Virginia 23220-2925

Dear Dr. Goodloe:

I looked for you unsuccessfully at the luncheon following the funeral yesterday. I wanted to tell you how reverent and inspiring I found the service that you conducted. In my aging years, I have attended so many funerals of prominent people that I consider myself a connoisseur of the genre. When the deceased and his family are nonbelievers, of course, there is not much to be said except praise for the departed who is no more. But even in Christian services conducted for deceased Christians , I am surprised at how often eulogy is the centerpiece of the service, rather than (as it was in your church) the Resurrection of Christ, and the eternal life which follows from that. I am told that, in Roman Catholic canon law, encomiums at funeral Masses are not permitted—though if that is the rule, I have never seen it observed except in the breach. I have always thought there is much to be said for such a prohibition, not only because it spares from embarrassment or dissembling those of us about whom little good can truthfully be said, but also because, even when the deceased was an admirable person—indeed, especially when the deceased was an admirable person—praise for his virtues can cause us to forget that we are praying for, and giving thanks for, God’s inexplicable mercy to a sinner. (My goodness, that seems more like a Presbyterian thought than a Catholic one!)

Perhaps the clergymen who conduct relatively secular services are moved by a desire not to offend the nonbelievers in attendance—whose numbers tend to increase in proportion to the prominence of the deceased. What a great mistake. Weddings and funerals (but especially funerals) are the principal occasions left in modern America when you can preach the Good News not just to the faithful, but to those who have never really heard it.

Many thanks, Dr. Goodloe, for a service that did honor to Lewis and homage to God. It was a privilege to sit with your congregation. Best regards.

Sincerely, Antonin Scalia

Source: Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the following about… – Foundation for Reformed Theology

Alexander Hamilton,  the looming high court battle:  Excellent article.

Of course, anyone familiar with Hamilton’s personal life might find it odd to invoke him as the standard for extracting extreme partisanship from the political process. His temper was legendary, as were his many long-standing political battles. He clashed with political enemies and often with allies, including George Washington, who made him the first secretary of the treasury. He once nearly came to duel James Monroe. And after a lifetime of petty political disagreements, Hamilton squared off with Aaron Burr in New Jersey in 1804 (Hamilton, in the musical, quips: “Everything is legal in New Jersey). Burr’s shot struck Hamilton between the ribs and the bullet lodged in his spine. He died, excruciatingly, over the next 24 hours. But even the hotheaded Hamilton seemed to understand the nobility to which the republic’s structure, the Constitution he helped write, calls public servants in particular. And there seems no way he would countenance bald, preemptive usurpation of the president’s appointive power. Maybe he’d even borrow, with a twist, from an admonishment Washington’s character offers him in the musical: Obstructing is easy, senators. Governing is harder.

Source: Alexander Hamilton and the looming high court battle

Who Are We?, The New York Times: Very, very well said …

I find this election bizarre for many reasons but none more than this: If I were given a blank sheet of paper and told to write down America’s three greatest sources of strength, they would be “a culture of entrepreneurship,” “an ethic of pluralism” and the “quality of our governing institutions.” And yet I look at the campaign so far and I hear leading candidates trashing all of them.

America didn’t become the richest country in the world by practicing socialism, or the strongest country by denigrating its governing institutions, or the most talent-filled country by stoking fear of immigrants. It got here via the motto “E Pluribus Unum” — Out of Many, One.

Source: Who Are We? – The New York Times

Vulture, Hamilton, Grammys: Can’t wait to see this … Just don’t know when.

[http://youtu.be/2t2jM0Vavh8]

 

Watch the Hamilton the Musical performance at The GRAMMYs, because this will be the closest most of us will ever get to actually seeing the show.

Source: Vulture – Watch the Hamilton Performance At the Grammys, Because…

Doodles Using GPS and a Bicycle, Mental Floss:

Canadian artist Stephen Lund has found a way to stay active and create delightful illustrations at the same time. In order to make maps that form specific shapes and pictures, the athletic doodler rides his bicycle through the streets of Canada, choosing specific routes. Using the Strava app, he records his travels so you can see what he’s created. The results illustrate everything from pop culture characters to animals. Last year, the intrepid artist traveled 22,300 kilometers (13,857 miles). You can see more maps from those journeys on his website, GPS Doodles.

Source: Artist Creates Doodles Using GPS and a Bicycle | Mental Floss

Atlanta, Restaurants, Culinary Greats, The New York Times: A whole list of restaurants for me to try on my visits home. Anyone care to join me?

Getting traction as a great restaurant city has been harder. It has been tough to compete with neighbors like Charleston, S.C., New Orleans or that sexy food upstart, Nashville. As a national food contender, Atlanta never had the culinary firepower or customer base of New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. Diners made do with a parade of meals at local or national chains, punctuated by the occasional steak in a pretty room. But now, as the nation’s infatuation with Southern food matures and Atlanta’s recession-battered economy recovers, a city that often looked over its shoulder for culinary validation and inspiration is coming into its own. Continue reading the main story RELATED COVERAGE Where to Eat in AtlantaFEB. 16, 2016 Cookbooks: ‘Root to Leaf,’ a Field Guide to VegetablesMARCH 30, 2015 The Chef: Anne Quatrano: Grandma Burned the Beans: A Lucky BreakJULY 12, 2006 Travel Guide: Atlanta for KidsAPRIL 29, 2015 Over the last couple of years, a record number of new and independent restaurants have opened. Especially in the urban core — what people here call intown Atlanta — veteran chefs and newcomers alike have taken advantage of cheap rents and a growing cadre of good line cooks who don’t feel the need to prove themselves in bigger ponds.

Source: Atlanta Pulls a Chair to the Table for Culinary Greats – The New York Times

Hymns Mash-Up, “How Great Thou Art”/”It Is Well”/ “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”,  Christian Music Video:

How Great Thou Art” “It Is Well” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

Source: Hymns Mash-Up “HoAw Great Thou Art” “It Is Well” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” – Christian Music Video

Stephen Curry Halfcourt Shot, NBA 2016 All Star Game:

Source: NBA on TNT – Stephen Curry Halfcourt Shot

Neil Reid, 14 Atlanta architects you should know about,  www.myajc.com: I did not know a friend’s childhood home was a Neil Reid! So many fun memories there.

Neel Reid (1885-1926): Reid was the first name in residential architecture in the early 20th century. His early career took him many places, including stints in Atlanta and Europe. After settling in Atlanta in 1909, his firm quickly found its niche in designing mansions in a variety of styles – often taking inspiration from places Reid saw in Europe. His name is practically a brand in Buckhead. Check out: the Shelton-Walden House (pictured); the Muse’s Building; Butler Street YMCA. (Special to the AJC)

Source: 14 Atlanta architects you should know about | www.myajc.com

A Picture Of Language: The Fading Art Of Diagramming Sentences, grammar, childhood memories,  NPR Ed : NPR:  I loved doing this in elementary school.

When you think about a sentence, you usually think about words — not lines. But sentence diagramming brings geometry into grammar. If you weren’t taught to diagram a sentence, this might sound a little zany. But the practice has a long — and controversial — history in U.S. schools. And while it was once commonplace, many people today don’t even know what it is. So let’s start with the basics. “It’s a fairly simple idea,” says Kitty Burns Florey, the author of Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences. “I like to call it a picture of language. It really does draw a picture of what language looks like.”

Source: A Picture Of Language: The Fading Art Of Diagramming Sentences : NPR Ed : NPR

 

16
Feb
16

2.16.16 … “tonight’s episode was devoted to bringing out the puppy in everyone” …

Image-1“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 7/40), Pewter Finger Labyrinth @ Home – Charlotte: No one said I had to walk a full size labyrinth.  Let your fingers do the walking …

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 ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6/Episode 7: Crash and Burn, The New York Times:  Send in the puppies!

 

Send in the puppies! Oh, I know, Abbots, there was only one flesh-and-blood pooch on view: an aww-inspiring yellow lab who will henceforth bear the name Tiaa in the hope that no terrorist group lays claim to it. (As any imbecile could tell you, Tiaa was the wife of Amenhotep II.) But I couldn’t escape the feeling that tonight’s episode was devoted to bringing out the puppy in everyone.

Source: ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6, Episode 7: Crash and Burn – The New York Times

 

Sharon UMC – Charlotte church,  “Holy Land”, Story | WJZY

A Charlotte church is trying to turn its land into apartments, restaurants, and even a hotel, but theyre not actually going anywhere. The congregation plans to stay put on the land and let all that development go up around them.The City of Charlotte’s City Council had a public hearing Monday night to re-zone Sharon United Methodist Churchs seven-acre property in the SouthPark area and turn it into “mixed-use development.”

The building would be torn down, and a new church would be built, so that the congregation can make way for all the other new neighbors. Senior Pastor Kyle Thompson said, “We’re not here to be a fortress walled off from the community. We’re here to be in and among people trying to share the love of God with them.”

Charlotte church redeveloping “Holy Land”Thompson said the concept of turning church property into “mixed-use development” is the first of its kind in the Southeast and perhaps the United States.Thompson said, “Things have just built up around us, and we find ourselves in a different community, and so we’re trying to adjust to that.”

Source: Charlotte church redeveloping “Holy Land” – Story | WJZY

Daily Overview,   Hoover Dam: This is one of my favorite websites and I loved today’s post … Hoover Dam!

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Daily Overview Page

Hoover Dam is a 726-foot high, 1,244-foot wide concrete arch-gravity dam located on the Colorado River at the border of Arizona and Nevada. Constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression, a workforce of approximately 20,000 poured a total of 4.36 million cubic yards of concrete to complete the structure. That is enough concrete to pave a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York City. 36°0′56″N 114°44′16″W

Source: Daily Overview – Hoover Dam is a 726-foot high, 1,244-foot wide…

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, RBG, quotes: Another favorite from the internet today … K12744144_548123298702883_3535158997842440966_n

 

Krispy Kreme, Betty Crocker, Krispy Kreme Cake Mix with Original Doughnut Glaze:  Really!

 

Source: Krispy Kreme Cake Mix with Original Doughnut Glaze – Betty Crocker

 

 

15
Feb
16

2.15.16 … “If our lives were a long piece of fabric with our baptism on one end and our funeral on another, and we don’t know the distance between the two, then Ash Wednesday is a time when that fabric is pinched in the middle and the ends are held up so that our baptism in the past and our funeral in the future meet.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 6/40), Ash Wednesday Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte:

a cold walk, but a good one. Typical weather in the South: 32 and raining …

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Ash Wednesday;

Here’s my image of Ash Wednesday: If our lives were a long piece of fabric with our baptism on one end and our funeral on another, and we don’t know the distance between the two, then Ash Wednesday is a time when that fabric is pinched in the middle and the ends are held up so that our baptism in the past and our funeral in the future meet. The water and words from our baptism plus the earth and words from our funerals have come from the past and future to meet us in the present. And in that meeting we are reminded of the promises of God: That we are God’s, that there is no sin, no darkness, and yes, no grave that God will not come to find us in and love us back to life. That where two or more are gathered, Christ is with us. These promises outlast our earthly bodies and the limits of time.

Source: a little reading for Fat Tuesday/Ash Wednesday (from Accidental Saints)

Gua Sha:  I did this today!  I’ll let you know how it goes

Baker started with what was, without a doubt, the best massage of my life. I consider myself to have a fairly high pain tolerance, so I prefer a very deep massage, and this did not disappoint. I could actually feel her working the knots out of my back with her hands. But that was just the beginning. She retreated for a moment, returning with a tool that she began scraping up and down my back. Since I was face-down on the massage table, I couldn’t see anything, but I pictured her rubbing a small, hand-held dish up and down my back. “Gua means to scrape or scratch,” she explained, moving the instrument down and away from my spine. “Sha means sand, because the sha rash that comes up is like a sand-like texture right on the skin.” Again, she warned me, “This will look dramatic.” The sensation was unlike anything I ever experienced before. I wouldn’t call it painful, but it was definitely intense, and I don’t think it’s a treatment that everyone will enjoy. She dug the tool into the muscles of my back, moving it around my shoulder blades and along my spine, applying pressure until the knots that built up over the past months dissolved. I felt better instantly. As she finished the treatment, I asked to see this “magical” tool that offered so much relief. Baker showed me a bottle cap, slightly larger than the one you’d twist off a bottle of Snapple. I was amazed.

With a final warning as to the visual state of my back, Baker left the room so I could survey the damage and get dressed. I approached the mirror with trepidation and noticed spots of purple and red blooming along the tops of my shoulders. I turned around and for the full effect: bruise-like paths spread down and way from my spine and along the bones of my shoulder blades. Frankly, I looked like I’d been beaten, even though I felt amazing. I felt capable of running a marathon (realistically, jogging around the block a few times), but Baker advised against that: “Your body needs to recover,” she reminded me. “It needs to have time to stabilize and recover, because [gua sha] is a treatment.”

This ancient therapy touted by Gwyneth Paltrow feels a lot better than it looks.

Source: The Shockingly Grotesque, Yet Incredible Results of Gua Sha Massage

 

14
Feb
16

2.14.16 … Happy Valentine’s day … What’s love got to do with it? …

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“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walkng, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 5/40), Almetto Howie Alexander labyrinth – McCrorey YMCA/Charlotte NC, Valentine’s Day:  I walked very early at the McCrorey YMCA.  John volunteered last night at Room in the Inn at the Y, so I joined him early for a cold early morning walk.  This is a nice labyrinth and I enjoy it every time I come.  I always find something new in the afro-centric themed art surrounding the classical Chartres labyrinth.  And of course I found a heart!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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FPC-Charlotte, PW February 2016 Devotional:

What’s love got to do with it?

February is always an interesting month to me.  There is Valentine’s Day and usually the season of Lent begins at some point, this year it is early, February 10.  So what does love have to do with it?

In a recent editorial by New York Times editor David Brooks, Mr. Brooks states:

The art critic Frederick Turner wrote that beauty “is the highest integrative level of understanding and the most comprehensive capacity for effective action. It enables us to go with, rather than against, the deepest tendency or theme of the universe.” By this philosophy, beauty incites spiritual longing.

Today the word eros refers to sex, but to the Greeks it meant the fervent desire to reach excellence and deepen the voyage of life. This eros is a powerful longing. Whenever you see people doing art, whether they are amateurs at a swing dance class or a professional painter, you invariably see them trying to get better. “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart,” Vincent van Gogh wrote.

Some people call eros the fierce longing for truth. “Making your unknown known is the important thing,” Georgia O’Keeffe wrote. Mathematicians talk about their solutions in aesthetic terms, as beautiful or elegant.

Others describe eros as a more spiritual or religious longing. They note that beauty is numinous and fleeting, a passing experience that enlarges the soul and gives us a glimpse of the sacred.

The shift to post-humanism has left the world beauty-poor and meaning-deprived. It’s not so much that we need more artists and bigger audiences, though that would be nice. It’s that we accidentally abandoned a worldview that showed how art can be used to cultivate the fullest inner life. We left behind an ethos that reminded people of the links between the beautiful, the true and the good — the way pleasure and love can lead to nobility.

Source: When Beauty Strikes – The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/15/opinion/when-beauty-strikes.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&rref=collection/column/david-brooks&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=David%20Brooks&pgtype=article

In Matthew 22, we find the THE Greatest Commandment:

34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’c 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Over the past few months, we have looked at various gifts or fruits of the spirit as set forth in Galatians 5:22-25.  And the first listed is LOVE.

Do each of these uses of love mean the same thing?  We seek love to find truth and to enlarge our soul and give us a glimpse of the sacred, we are commanded by Jesus to love, and we are gifted love by the Spirit.

So I suggest that during February and continuing throughout Lent, you focus on love.  Instead of giving up something for Lent, give love and take up a spiritual practice where you focus on God’s love.  I have walked local labyrinths for the past 5 years as my Lenten practice.  Try something different:  pray daily, try centered prayer or meditation daily, tour a local church daily or walk a labyrinth.

Let us pray: Lord, let each of us encounter Jesus in our everyday lives and let us seek love, experience love and share love. Guide us to do as you command: to love you, Lord, with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds. Amen.

Dennard Teague

February  2016

 

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, RIP:

Scalia’s death has far-reaching implications for the Supreme Court and a round of major cases the justices are set to decide this summer, including Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which challenges the university’s affirmative action policy, plus a case that contests Obama’s immigration policy and another that reexamines the meaning of “one person, one vote,” said former U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez.

Source: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia found dead at West Texas ranch – SFGate

Scalia-Ginsburg friendship, opposing ideologies, CNNPolitics.com: Several people in the media and social media have talked accused Justice Scalia of being misogynist, racist, elitist, etc.  But does anyone believe that Justice Ginsberg could think such things and be such a good friend?  Why can people no longer respect those they differ with, even if with respect to fundamental issues.

During a joint appearance with the woman he also has called his “best buddy” on the bench, Scalia said, “Why don’t you call us the odd couple?” “What’s not to like?” Scalia joked at the event hosted by the Smithsonian Associates. “Except her views on the law, of course.” The two justices and their families vacationed together. There was a trip to Europe where Ginsburg went parasailing, leaving Scalia on the ground to admire her courage but at the same time worry she might just float away.

Source: Scalia-Ginsburg friendship bridged opposing ideologies – CNNPolitics.com

It’s easy to mourn the lack of civility in contemporary American politics; politicians on both sides talk glowingly about the time when Ronald Reagan could invite Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill to the White House for a drink to work out a conflict. It’s just as easy to say that civility is for people who don’t have the courage of their convictions — that if people genuinely disagree about what is best for America, they shouldn’t have to put that aside for the sake of small talk. What makes Ginsburg’s statement remarkable is that it shows how superficial both sides of the civility argument are. The respect that Ginsburg’s statement shows for Scalia’s intellect — that she could trust him to point out the flaws in her arguments — also reveals a respect for her own, to know the difference between a genuine agreement of principle and an error that needed to be corrected. But more importantly, the statement shows that it’s okay for people in politics to spend time cultivating other interests — like opera — and that those can be a genuine basis for friendship in their own right. Arguably, that’s easier for appointed judges than it is for elected officials. It’s still rare. And it’s still worth celebrating. It’s not just atypical in contemporary American politics for people to be both ideological adversaries and close personal friends. It’s atypical for contemporary American political figures to even be close personal friends with each other. Justices Scalia and Ginsburg showed just how much everyone else was missing. That won’t be as significant to Scalia’s legacy as his jurisprudence, but maybe it should.

Source: Read Justice Ginsburg’s moving tribute to her “best buddy” Justice Scalia – Vox

Sri Srinivasan, Supreme Court justice in the making:  So who is next?

From his post feet away from the nine justices March 27, Srikanth Srinivasan (SREE-kont SREE-nee-vah-sun) calmly explained what Roberts called a “totally unprecedented” situation. Along the way, the mathematics professor’s son sprinkled in references to numerators, denominators and algorithms, the statutes 28 U.S.C. 530(d) and 28 U.S.C. 1254, and the precedents established by INS v.Chadha, United States v. Lovett and Turner Broadcasting v. FCC. Without notes. It was just the latest chapter in a stellar legal career that has taken the 46-year-old litigator known as “Sri” to a seat on the nation’s second most powerful court — and given him instant buzz as a potential Supreme Court justice himself. The Senate unanimously confirmed Srinivasan on Thursday as the first new judge since 2006 on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The vote was 97-0.

Source: Sri Srinivasan: Supreme Court justice in the making?

Biscuits: A Love Story,  Garden and Gun:  I love biscuits so I thought this was a fun Valentine Day story.

lent a hand. “Before he did the last fold, I’d punch the dough,” she says. “I’d leave a fist mark in it. Then I’d always claim that the biscuits turned out right just because I punched them.” He always saved a biscuit for her, and she joked that she’d marry him if he kept it up. Ten years later, she made good on that promise. They’ve been married for three months. She still punches the dough before he folds it, but she lets him do the rest of the work. “He makes them so well there’s no point,” she says. But she doesn’t agree with him on everything. She likes her biscuits with butter, and he prefers his with sausage and grape jelly.

Source: Biscuits: A Love Story | Garden and Gun

 Virtual Tour, Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, Open Culture:  Bewildering is right!  I saw it at the Prado.  I would love to know what he was thinking ….

 

Art historians have argued about the meaning of The Garden of Earthly Delights—Hieronymus Bosch’s enormously sized, lavishly detailed, and compellingly grotesque late 14th- or early 15th-century triptych—more or less since the painter’s death. What does it really say about the appearance and fall of man on Earth that it seems to depict? How seriously or ironically does it say it? Does it offer us a warning against temptation, or a celebration of temptation? Does it take a religious or anti-religious stance? And what’s with all those creepy animals and bizarre pseudo-sex acts? “In spite of all the ingenious, erudite and in part extremely useful research devoted to the task,” said scholar Erwin Panofsky, “I cannot help feeling that the real secret of his magnificent nightmares and daydreams has still to be disclosed.”

Source: Take a Virtual Tour of Hieronymus Bosch’s Bewildering Masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights | Open Culture

13
Feb
16

2.13.16 … kin·dred ˈkindrəd/ noun 1. one’s family and relations. synonyms: family, relatives, relations, kin, kith and kin, one’s own flesh and blood; More relationship by blood. “ties of kindred” adjective adjective: kindred 1. similar in kind; related. “books on kindred subjects” …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 4/40),  Davidson College Labyrinth – Davidson NC, Hobart Park:  

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Hobart is special to me.  My family celebrated graduation with a picnic in the park with John’s family.

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The labyrinth was added when the park was redone in memory of a classmate.  It is funny that I never noticed the marker dedicating the park to F.D. Hobart, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, 1925-1960, “If you seek his monument, look about you”:

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It is a beautiful day, the sun is streaming and the air is cold and crisp.

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As I walk I look for the moss cross that Ann pointed out to me the first time I walked this labyrinth.

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And before I leave, I must go see the camellias in bloom … I love the South in winter!!

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Kindred, Davidson NC:  Lunch with Molly at the newest “in” restaurant in Davidson.  The oysters were divine!

New-School: Crispy Oysters with Green Garlic Yogurt Kindred; Davidson, NC Battered sparingly and fried gently, Joe Kindred’s riff on oysters with tartar sauce emerges from the oil looking beige and craggy and rumpled. Beneath the pleasingly raspy exterior, these just-shucked beauties quiver. Served on a gold-rimmed plate, on a skid of garlicky white sauce that recalls a Greek tzatziki, they arrive with a tuck of watercress that complements the whole like a feather does a cap. kindreddavidson.com

Source: Southern Food in 50 Dishes | Garden and Gun

kith/kin, TFA, Baltimore:  Molly’s moving to Baltimore with TFA. I can’t wait to explore her new home!

“You can look far and wide, but you’ll never discover a stranger city with such extreme style,” filmmaker and local celebrity John Waters wrote in his book, Shock Value. “It’s as if every eccentric in the South decided to move north, ran out of gas in Baltimore, and decided to stay.”

Source: Searching for America’s Most Eccentric City…in Baltimore | Atlas Obscura

Six Photographers, Photo Session With The Same Man, Most Exciting Planet:  Fascinating …

When six photographers are tasked with taking portraits of the same man, the results are astonishing. Here’s the twist: each photographer is told a different (fake) personal history of the man. As portrait photographers, it’s their goal to portray this man, as they see him, in a single photograph. Though he comes to each photo session dressed exactly the same, carries himself the same way, and speaks with each photographer in the same manner, the photographers treat him differently and photograph him completely differently depending on the background story.

Source: Six Photographers Each Have A Photo Session With The Same Man – The Results Will Definitely Surprise You! – Most Exciting Planet

man’s best friend:

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Actually he is still “here.” But I am holding him close. He is a ghost dog for sure. But I am dealing with the loss every morning and every mealtime as he slips away.

Reformed worship is … – The Presbyterian Outlook

At one end of the pew someone is whispering, “That communion liturgy felt so Catholic.” At the other, someone is murmuring, “This praise song sounds so Pentecostal.” “Is that how Presbyterians pray?” “Is this how Presbyterians sing?” Surely you’ve overheard such comments. Perhaps you’ve said similar things yourself. In my time with the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship I’ve heard many variations on the theme: “That’s too Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal . . . .” I’ve responded to countless calls and emails from pastors, elders, and members who were concerned that some new (or […]

Source: Reformed worship is … – The Presbyterian Outlook

 




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