Posts Tagged ‘FPC-Charlotte

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

05
Jun
13

6.5.13 … “For about 20 minutes in that labyrinth, I witnessed a living example of the beautiful interplay between love of God and love of neighbor.”

kudos, Katherine Cooke Kerr,  labyrinth walks, FPC Charlotte,  “Not Far From the Kingdom”: Thank you, Katherine Cooke Kerr, for  putting into words the communal nature of walking labyrinths. Anne W. made me aware of your beautiful 6.2.13 sermon, “Not Far From the Kingdom.”    I shared this beautiful labyrinth walk on  5.28.13 … walk with me … But Katherine did a much better job.

From “Not Far From the Kingdom”:

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This past Tuesday night, I gathered with our Stephen Ministers for their bimonthly meeting. Instead of meeting here at the church, we took a field trip. We met at Avondale Presbyterian Church on Park Road. The reason we were there was to experience the labyrinth that they have on their campus. Labyrinths, based upon ancient design, are paths that begin at an outside point and lead to a central spot. Different from a maze, a labyrinth has one way in and one way out, and you cannot get lost in one.

They have long been used for spiritual practice in a number of faith traditions, and several churches, including Avondale, have labyrinths on their campuses.

After a quick historical and practical overview led by Dennard Teague, our group went outside to experience the labyrinth firsthand. Of the twenty or so people there, only about four had ever walked a labyrinth before.

When I had done it in the past, it had always been alone, which is the way labyrinths are usually experienced. I was curious as to how it would work as a group effort.

What happened was profound.

We gathered at the entrance to the labyrinth and, one by one, entered and began to follow the circuitous path. Everyone spaced themselves about 10 or so paces apart and walked at their own pace. Eventually we were all in the labyrinth, walking sometimes as close as shoulder to shoulder, but in complete silence. Some people walked with their heads down, watching their footfall on the brick path. Others looked up and around at the peaceful scenery, taking in the beautiful spring evening light.

I don’t know what was happening in the thoughts of those around me, but I can guess that some were praying and some were contemplating, no doubt at least one was compiling a grocery list, and some may have been blissfully free of thought. As I looked around, I realized that I was standing (or walking) in a perfect metaphor for today’s message.

For about 20 minutes in that labyrinth, I witnessed a living example of the beautiful interplay between love of God and love of neighbor. Each person was having their own personal experience- in prayer or meditation or silence- but we were not alone. We were loving God and loving one another- being in relationship with our creator while also being in relationship with one another. And I realized then that so much of what our life of faith is about looks something like this.

It happens here in worship, and in circles and bible studies. It happens in Sunday school classes and youth group, on mission trips and retreats, at hospital bedsides and gravesides. Wherever we are practicing our faith, we are living out the truth that the love of God and the love of neighbor are inextricably intertwined.

The solitary practice of faith- my focus on my relationship with God- is important, but it is incomplete. And the community practice of faith- my focus on how I treat my neighbor- is important, but it is incomplete.

It is only through loving God that I can truly love my neighbor. And only in loving my neighbor can I begin more fully to love God.

One without the other doesn’t work. This is the message of the Ten Commandments, and the message of Jesus in the Greatest Commandment.

The love of God and the love of neighbor belong together – they form the foundation for the life of faith, a life lived toward the kingdom of God, that place that is both here and not here, now and not yet, when the fullness and richness of God’s intention for creation will be realized and we will live in perfect harmony with our creator and our brothers and sisters.

It’s not far away. Thanks be to God. Amen.

via First Presbyterian Church – For Christ In the Heart of Charlotte.

07
May
13

5.7.13 … more rainbows, kudos, bugs … am I oversharing? :)

FPC Charlotte, Charlotte NC: Beautiful skyline of Charlotte!

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Sports Illustrated, Steph Curry:  Kudos!  🙂

“Honored to be on next issue Sports Illustrated!” – Steph Curry

Dogwood Stable, Cot Campbell,  Palace Malice , blinkers: I wish palace Malice success in the summer season.

 Palace Malice broke alertly all right, but Goldencents to his inside and Itsmyluckyday to his outside were on their toes as well and things became competitive right away. So, as the field passed the finish post for the first time, the Dogwood Stable colt was, surprisingly, vying for the lead. The teletimer flashed 22 2/5 seconds, very fast considering the condition of the sloppy track.

Swinging into the first turn things went from bad to worse.

“The blinkers sharpened him too much,” Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell said. “Mike couldn’t hold him. He said he did everything he could and he still could not apply any restraint.”

By the time Palace Malice straightened for the run down the backstretch, he had covered a half mile in a blazing 45 1/5 seconds and his fate was sealed. He had run the second-fastest half mile (tied with two others) in Derby history, despite the sea of mud.

“He set a suicidal pace and you just can’t do that and win the Kentucky Derby,” Campbell said. “The blinkers were the villain.”

To the casual observer, Palace Malice seemed to be doing fine as he opened a three-length lead down the backside. His three-quarter mile fraction of 1:09 4/5 was tied for the fourth-fastest ever run in a Derby.

via Stable president says blinkers were ‘villain’ for Palace Malice | Mobile Augusta.

parenting, teenagers, church, spiritual v. religious, Mallory McDuff,  God’s Politics Blog,  Sojourners, kith/kin: With my youngest a freshman in college, I am barely on the other side of this battle and am not sure it was worth it.  I sent this to my kids with the request, “Read this one for me … ” They are 23, 21 and 18. I’ll let you if they respond.

In this age when the “spiritual but not religious” seem to have more relevance than churchgoers, it’s easy to wonder why church attendance matters at all.  But I believe that we need common spaces, more grounded than the corner Starbucks, to discern right actions in a world faced with crises like climate change and stark economic disparities.

Our teenagers and our children must shape these sacred spaces where we can grapple with our questions but act in faith through practices of forgiveness, feeding, hospitality, and care of creation. As Diana Butler Bass notes, “Right now, the church does not need to convert the world. The world needs to convert the church.”

I made Maya go to church because we may not know why we are here, but we can pass along a little light to others on the journey. And maybe that’s what we need to create a little heaven on earth.

via Why I Made My Teenager Go to Church – Mallory McDuff | God’s Politics Blog | Sojourners.

East Coast US,  cicadas: Definitely not on my list … but it was a non-event in Charlotte last time, 17 years ago.

Any day now, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground and overrun the East Coast. The insects will arrive in such numbers that people from North Carolina to Connecticut will be outnumbered roughly 600-to-1. Maybe more.

Scientists even have a horror-movie name for the infestation: Brood II. But as ominous as that sounds, the insects are harmless. They won’t hurt you or other animals. At worst, they might damage a few saplings or young shrubs. Mostly they will blanket certain pockets of the region, though lots of people won’t ever see them.

via East about to be overrun by billions of cicadas.

oversharing, WSJ.com: Oversharing … probably guilty …

Ever share too much information—and you weren’t even tipsy? I call it BYB—Blabbing Your Business. It’s happening a lot these days thanks to reality TV and social media sites, where it’s perfectly normal for people to share every single detail of their lives, no matter how mundane or personal. In the culture we live in, it’s hard to remember that some things should be private.

via What Makes People Overshare? – WSJ.com.

07
May
13

5.7.13 … catching up … RIP, but I don’t know Antonia …

Antonia Larroux,  RIP, Obituary, NY, bookshelf, The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries:  An obit worth reading if you are into that sort of thing. I obviously am …

Antonia W. “Toni” Larroux Bay St. Louis, MS Waffle House lost a loyal customer on April 30, 2013. Antonia W. “Toni” Larroux died after a battle with multiple illnesses: lupus, rickets, scurvy,

Anyone wearing black will not be admitted to the memorial. She is not dead. She is alive.

via Antonia Larroux Obituary: View Antonia Larroux’s Obituary by New York Times.

And now I have a new book on my list: The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries. Thanks, Paul!

Brandon Plantation,  For Sale, Thomas Jefferson-Designed,  Virginia Manor House: If you buy it, I will come visit!  I like the style fine … but it looks remarkably similar to the Lawn at UVA. Oh, wait, Mr. Jefferson designed that one, too.

Brandon Plantation

Brandon Plantation, a designated National Historic Landmark, hits the auction block June 26, only the third time it’s changed hands since the colonization of Jamestown in 1607.

The 4,487-acre property includes a 7-bed, 6.5-bath Palladian-style main house that was “substantially” designed by Jefferson (whose most famous architectural feat, Monticello, lies 120 miles away).

Fields at Brandon, the “oldest continuous agricultural operation in the U.S.,” continue to produce corn (189 bushels per acre in 2012), wheat (78 bushels) and soybeans (50 bushels). The property also includes six square formal gardens, a swimming pool, tennis courts and two river cottages.

via Brandon Plantation For Sale: Thomas Jefferson-Designed Virginia Manor House, Plantation Up For Auction (PHOTOS).

Ripe “Old” Age, NEXT Church, Katherine Kerr, FPC-Charlotte:

 Let me be clear that respecting younger generations does not have to come at the cost of disregarding the older generations.  As the church of Jesus Christ in twenty-first century America, we have enough challenges ahead of us, such as cultural, economic, and ecclesial battles to name a few. We do not need to add generational battles too.  We are all in this together, and we should start acting like it.  We may have differing ideas about worship styles and clerical garb, sermon prep practices and models for ministry, but when it comes down to it, we are all for the same thing – to worship and serve the Lord.  And there’s no minimum or maximum age for that.

via Ripe “Old” Age – NEXT Church.

John Kasay, retirement, Carolina Panther , CharlotteObserver.com:  A very nice and very deserved gesture!

John Kasay stands with members of his family as team owner Jerry Richardson speaks on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at Bank of America Stadium. Kasay a kicker signed a one-day contract with the Carolina Panthers so that he could retire as a Panther.

via Photos – John Kasay retires as a Panther – CharlotteObserver.com.

 

Mark Sanford, 1st Congressional District – SC, Jim Roberts @nycjim, twitter, Reuters Digital:  Jim Roberts @nycjim  (Jim Roberts is executive editor of Reuters Digital, a full-time student of the news) just tweeted:

Mark Sanford will now be able to watch the Super Bowl with his son in his Capitol Hill office.

06
May
13

5.6.13 … back at it …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking,  Sharon Baptist Church – Charlotte NC: I call this my Walmart labyrinth. I call it my Walmart labyrinth because I’m not particularly fond of it, but it is on my route to the super Walmart. So here I am  today enjoying this very odd cool May day, the second such day in a row. And I’ll make an attempt at solving. Blessings.

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Colbert Busch, Mark Sanford,  Nate Silver, SC 1st Congressional District, NYTimes.com:  Really enjoy Nate Silver’s analysis.  So from his analysis, it seems the only reason for a Republican to vote for via Colbert Busch is to punish Sanford.

… even if Ms. Colbert Busch does win on Tuesday, how long might she be able to hold on to such a solidly Republican seat?If recent history is any guide, not that long.Since 1997 which is as far back as records of special elections go on history.house.gov, candidates who won a special election in a district carried by the opposing political party in the preceding presidential election have had fleeting tenures in Congress.There have been 59 special elections since 1997, and just 14 candidates have carried districts that leaned away from their political party a Republican representing a Democratic-leaning seat or vice versa. Of those 14, 13 no longer hold those seats.1 The lone exception is Representative Ron Barber, who won a full term in Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District in 2012 after winning a special election to replace former Representative Gabrielle Giffords.Most of those 14 special election upsets occurred in districts that are less partisan than South Carolina’s first district.

via Colbert Busch Might Win, but Could She Last? – NYTimes.com.

Niall Ferguson, John Maynard Keynes:  Rewriting history, giant leaps …

Harvard historian Niall Ferguson has apologized after suggesting that John Maynard Keynes’ economic theories were influenced by the fact that he was gay and childless, and therefore was unconcerned with the welfare of future generations. He wrote, “First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’s wife Lydia miscarried.” Ferguson tends to court controversy — his 2012 book Civilization:The West and the Rest was widely seen as an apology for Western colonialism.

via Book News: Harper Lee Says Literary Agent Exploited Her Health : The Two-Way : NPR.

Thin Places,  TMBS, FPC-Charlotte, NYTimes.com:  A friend shared this on FB and I thought it worth mentioning again.

 So what exactly makes a place thin? It’s easier to say what a thin place is not. A thin place is not necessarily a tranquil place, or a fun one, or even a beautiful one, though it may be all of those things too. Disney World is not a thin place. Nor is Cancún. Thin places relax us, yes, but they also transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us. In thin places, we become our more essential selves.

via Thin Places, Where We Are Jolted Out of Old Ways of Seeing the World – NYTimes.com.

We used the concept of “thin places” to anchor a week of a FPC bible study I attend and included this article.  Here is the outline of our discussion:

“Thin Places” Feb. 5: This Tuesday we will wrap up our Epiphany study with a look at the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36). In Barbara Brown Taylor’s sermon about the Transfiguration, she refers “thin places”.

This term, originating in Celtic spirituality, refers to a place in which the boundary between the holy and the ordinary becomes very thin. It has come to describe both sacred and secular spaces as shown in the following two articles.

Thin Places of Faith Dr. Karyn L.Wiseman – Huffington Post Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer Eric Weiner – NYT

Think about when and where those places have occurred in your life and how you might re-create these spaces day to day. Moving from Discovering Christ to Practicing the Discipleship of Christ, these encounters with the holy can help deepen our Lenten experiences. As noted in a sermon by Rev. Nicholas Lang, “Christian practices—what we do here in this sacred space—have as their central purpose to provide the possibility for us to encounter a thin place where our hearts are opened.” We’ll spend some time on Tuesday discussing these glimpses through the “cracked doors… where God is a palpable presence” (Taylor p. 58).

The Rustbelt Almanac, Louisville:  I am very interested in the Rust Belt and its people, so I will take a look at The Rustbelt Almanac—A New Quarterly About Industrious People,  Louisville is this odd, but charming, mixture of The South and the Rust Belt.

WHY THE RUST BELT?

America’s Rust Belt is the sprawling region stretching from the Northeast across the Midwest, and into parts of the Upper South – most notably characterized by a vast void left by manufacturing industries that once dominated the economic landscape, but have long since gone by the wayside. While industry may have moved elsewhere, the work-ethic has not. The region is home to countless industrious people; artists, craftsman, laborers, entrepreneurs – Makers. That same void left by industry is the reason the region has such unimaginable potential for growth: there is room for the folks who want to take risks and start something new.

via About — Rustbelt Almanac.

17
Feb
13

2.17.13 … I was happy last night … I must have at least one snow a year …

Charlotte, snow:  I was happy last night … I must have at least one snow a year.

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history, Lent: So, I am a Pharisee now …

Nevertheless, I was always taught, “If you gave something up for the Lord, tough it out. Don’t act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole.”

Over the years, modifications have been made to the Lenten observances, making our practices not only simple but also easy. Ash Wednesday still marks the beginning of Lent, which lasts for 40 days, not including Sundays. The present fasting and abstinence laws are very simple: On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the faithful fast having only one full meal a day and smaller snacks to keep up ones strength and abstain from meat; on the other Fridays of Lent, the faithful abstain from meat. People are still encouraged “to give up something” for Lent as a sacrifice. An interesting note is that technically on Sundays and solemnities like St. Josephs Day March 19 and the Annunciation March 25, one is exempt and can partake of whatever has been offered up for Lent.Nevertheless, I was always taught, “If you gave something up for the Lord, tough it out. Dont act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole.” Moreover, an emphasis must be placed on performing spiritual works, like attending the Stations of the Cross, attending Mass, making a weekly holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament, taking time for personal prayer and spiritual reading and most especially making a good confession and receiving sacramental absolution. Although the practices may have evolved over the centuries, the focus remains the same: to repent of sin, to renew our faith and to prepare to celebrate joyfully the mysteries of our salvation.

via History of Lent.

Lenten practice, Facebook, LOL:

Wonder what it says about FB that so many people are abstaining from it for Lent?

and one of his friend’s comment …

I’m Betting they cheat and look ..just not commenting.

via BW

Lent, Lenten devotionals: These jumped out at me …

Thursday February 14, 2013

Seeing the Beauty and Goodness in Front of Us

We don’t have to go far to find the treasure we are seeking. There is beauty and goodness right where we are. And only when we can see the beauty and goodness that are close by can we recognize beauty and goodness on our travels far and wide. There are trees and flowers to enjoy, paintings and sculptures to admire; most of all there are people who smile, play, and show kindness and gentleness. They are all around us, to be recognized as free gifts to receive in gratitude.

Our temptation is to collect all the beauty and goodness surrounding us as helpful information we can use for our projects. But then we cannot enjoy it, and we soon find that we need a vacation to restore ourselves. Let’s try to see the beauty and goodness in front of us before we go elsewhere to look for it.

via Daily Meditation: Seeing the Beauty and Goodness in Front of Us.

Indeed, the God of my rigid ideologies, of my complacent Theology; the God who validates my unwillingness to explore heresies, and rewards me for arrogantly dismissing them as sinful; the God who grounds my intellectual arrogance in His omniscience, and my politics in his omnipotence; the God who vanquishes all of His and my inquisitive foes, forever silencing their obnoxious questions with the fires of Hell; whose very Nature demands that humans separate and categorize the world into manageable divisions; the God who has made His Will known to us through Natural Law, and a Holy Book, every word of which we are to follow without hesitation or consideration; whose ethical character remains beyond discussion; whose decisions remain beyond the scope of human analysis; the God who grounds all Thought in his Being – this God, who is Himself nothing more than an idol of Modernism, is dead.

My goal for Lent is to remember this death, and to meditate on it in reverence, humility, and mystery. And to reflect not on the God who rules by power, but a god who leads by love; who identifies with the weak; whose foolishness upsets omniscience; a God who reveals Himself in many ways, who reveals Himself in a first century peasant named Jesus; a God who empties Himself of God, and offers Himself to his enemies in submission and servitude; who is concerned with the plight of widows and orphans, the least among us, and the disadvantaged; who sends Jesus to go after the marginalized and the misunderstood, and to bring back home again those who have been ostracized and forgotten.

I am giving up God for Lent to make room for God. I am prying open my fingers, and letting all of my theological idols crash to the ground. And I am lifting up my empty hands to Heaven in anticipation of God’s arrival, and quietly echoing the unsettling words of Meister Eckhart: “I pray God to rid me of God.”

via Brandon Ambrosino: Giving Up God For Lent.

Kneeling in Jerusalem,  Ann Weems, Lent:  Ann Weems’ book  Kneeling in Jerusalem is a great resource during Lent.

LENT

Lent is a time to take the time

to let the power of our faith story take hold of us,

a time to let the events

get up and walk around in us,

a time to intensify

our living unto Christ,

a time to hover over

the thoughts of our hearts,

a time place our feet in the streets of Jerusalem or to walk along the sea and listen to his word,

a time to touch his robe

and feel the healing surge through us,

a time to ponder and a time to wonder . . .

Lent is a time to allow a fresh new taste of God!

from Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

clergywear, pastors, stoles, FPC-Charlotte, Lent,  fyi:

What Are Our Pastors Wearing Around Their Necks?

Of all the questions I have received since arriving as your pastor last September, the most popular has been about what we wear on Sunday during worship.

The name for what we wear around our necks is a “stole.” Stoles are worn by the clergy of many denominations – Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic.

The shape of a stole is reminiscent of a yoke that symbolizes the yoke of Christ, which reminds those of us who wear the stole (and those who see us wearing it) of whom we serve. Stoles are a symbol of ordained ministry – and are often given as gifts to a pastor on his or her ordination to service in the Church.

You may have noticed that the stoles we wear even change colors! The color of our stoles follows the season of the Christian year: purple in Advent and Lent, white in Christmas and Easter, green in ordinary times, and red in Pentecost.

You’ll also notice that the color of our stoles coordinates with the materials that cover both the pulpit and the communion table. These materials are called “paraments.”

Christians follow a different calendar – defined by our salvation history – because as we are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, we are called to live a different kind of life.

Finally, most of your pastors’ stoles have a story – about where they were made or by whom they were given. Feel free to ask us about them sometime!

Pen

source: FirstNews

Camino de Santiago, Camino de Santiago Forum, bucket list: Thank you CCP for sharing this one.  One day …

Thoughts on Camino de Santiago – YouTube.

architecture, I.M. Pei, Gateway Towers, Singapore, optical illusion, Wired.com:  strangely two-dimensional …

Gateway

Gateway Towers, Singapore

Completed in 1990, the trapezoidal shape of I.M. Pei’s Gateway Towers in Singapore create an optical illusion when viewed from certain angles — the 37-story office buildings appear strangely two-dimensional.

via Wired’s Weekly Picks of Stunning Architecture | Wired Design | Wired.com.

uncreative writing, language, Digital Age, Brain Pickings:  subversive ..

The rest of Uncreative Writing goes on to explore the history of appropriation in art, the emerging interchangeability between words and images in digital culture, the challenges of defining one’s identity in the vastness of the online environment, and many other pressing facets of what it means to be a writer — or, even more broadly, a creator — in the age of the internet. Complement it with the equally subversive How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.

via Uncreative Writing: Redefining Language and Authorship in the Digital Age | Brain Pickings.

art, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brain Pickings, 

Letters From Father Christmas:  Given that Tolkien’s

Letters From Father Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas books that I shared with my children …  and to a large extent because of Tolkien’s whimsical drawings, I know I would love this edition of The Hobbit.

A rare piece of cross-disciplinary creativity from the mind of one of modern history’s greatest creators, Art of the Hobbit is equal parts literary treasure and treat of art, exploring the notion of the author as designer — a particularly timely concept in the age of self-publishing and disciplinary cross-pollination in the making of books.

via Art of the Hobbit: Never-Before-Seen Drawings by J.R.R. Tolkien | Brain Pickings.

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or painting. The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house, and many more.

via Letters From Father Christmas: J.R.R. Tolkien: 0046442512657: Amazon.com: Books.

Obamacare, Uninsurables Program: I thought this was one of the good things about ObamaCare … 😦

Enrollment around the country has been lower than expected, partly because some people could not afford the premiums. But individual cases have turned out to be costlier than originally projected.

In documents provided to the states, the administration said the program has spent about $2.4 billion in taxpayer money on medical claims and nearly $180 million on administrative costs, as of Dec. 31. Congress allocated $5 billion to the plan.

“From the beginning (the administration) has been committed to monitoring PCIP enrollment and spending closely and making necessary adjustments in the program to ensure responsible management of the $5 billion provided by Congress,” PCIP director Richard Popper wrote in a memo. “To this end, we are implementing a nationwide suspension of enrollment.”

via Obamacare ‘Uninsurables’ Program Quietly Winds Down As Funding Dries Up.

news, journalism, mobile journalism, end of an era, Poynter;  “News needs to solve problems” hmmm … ” We need to solve information problems for our users and drive measurable revenue for our advertisers. Mobile is not merely another form factor, but an entirely new ecosystem that rewards utility.  Flipboard is a classic example of solving a problem (tablet-based content discovery) while The Daily is an example of a product that did not.”

4. News needs to solve problems

A study by Flurry in November found that the news category only accounts for 2 percent of total time spent on mobile apps. Social apps gobble up 26 percent. Facebook alone accounts for 23 percent of all time spent with mobile apps, according to Comscore in December. That beats every news organization’s app combined by a long shot.

As Facebook (and Twitter) grow in time spent – and since both are populated with plenty of news – they’re increasingly competitive with news organizations’ mobile experiences by sheer volume.

As a result, simply extending a news organizations’ current coverage into mobile isn’t enough. We need to solve information problems for our users and drive measurable revenue for our advertisers. Mobile is not merely another form factor, but an entirely new ecosystem that rewards utility.  Flipboard is a classic example of solving a problem (tablet-based content discovery) while The Daily is an example of a product that did not.

“The key insight from thinking about your business this way is that it is the job, and not the customer or the product, that should be the fundamental unit of analysis,” said Clayton Christensen, David Skok and James Allworth in a Nieman report. “This applies to news as much as it does to any other service.”

“The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself,” explains Y Combinator’s Paul Graham. “By far the most common mistake startups make is to solve problems no one has.”

via 5 reasons mobile will disrupt journalism like the Internet did a decade ago | Poynter..

2013 Festival of Legal Learning, US Supreme Court, US Supreme Court Confirmation Process: One of my favorite lectures.  The speaker was a little dry, but I learned a great deal about the confirmation process from nomination to confirmation, vetting both by the White House and the Senate, the role of public relations and media, etc.  Once again, I have confirmed that I am a nerd.

Insider’s View of the Supreme Court Confirmation Process

Michael J. Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and Director of the Center for Law and Government, UNC School of Law

this session will explore the nuances of the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process. The speaker has significant experience in this arena. He advised several senators on the nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Samuel Alito Jr., and served as Special Counsel to Chair Patrick Leahy (D-vt.) as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee for the nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

via Festival of Legal Learning.

2013 Festival of Legal Learning,  Student Athletes, Penn State, caveat emptor:  You should always be ticked when the presenter starts off telling you that there will be very little about Penn State despite the fact that it is in the title.

Sex, Violence and Student Athletes: Penn State and Beyond

Barbara J. Osborne, Associate Professor, UNC Department of Exercise & Sport Science

this session will explain the 2012 U.S. Department of education’s Sexual violence guidance. Institutional liability will be discussed using recent situations involving student-athletes at the high school and college level, as well as the Office of Civil Rights’ complaint against Penn State for the Sandusky scandal.

Festival of Legal Learning.

Life With Dogs: Thank you, EWP,  for sharing this  Life With Dogs’s photo …

this is like one of those old-fashioned fox stoles that my grandmothers used to wear – EWP

Find Rufus Competition, corgies, visitlondon.com:  What is it with the Brits and corgies?

Can You Find Rufus The Corgi?

For your chance to win a romantic trip to London, use the clues to find Rufus in the map below. Remember, he’s only a little dog, so you might need to zoom in!

via Now See It For Yourself – Find Rufus Competition – visitlondon.com.

translation apps,  Google App,  NYTimes.com:  My husband downloaded an arabic translation app for his next trip to Kuwait.  We’ll see how that goes …

I’ve been watching Google’s translation tools improve over the years, but this trip would be a true test: could it really blunt the trauma of arriving in a country where the average American is instantly rendered illiterate, deaf and mute?The answer: yes, though knowing your way around it in advance will help. (United Nations interpreters need not fear for their jobs, at least not yet.) Here, then, are my tips, learned the hard way….

Pantomiming and phrasebooks have always worked for you in the past, and are more fun anyway? I hear you. But even if you want to stay old-school, the world is moving on without you. At least once a day during my trip, the Chinese broke out their own translation apps before I had a chance to break out mine. In other words, this train has already left the station. Or, to pick a cliché more appropriate to my trip, you don’t want to miss the boat.

via Lost in Translation? Try a Google App – NYTimes.com.

Carnival Cruise, Triumph Failure, Total PR Fiasco, bathrobes, twitter:  They may have tweeted too fast … bathrobe fiasco!

They may have been stranded aboard a busted cruise ship for five days with little food, broken sewage systems and no heat or air conditioning, but at least they’ll get to keep the bathrobe.

On Friday morning, as more than 3,000 tired and dirty customers finally disembarked from the stranded cruise ship Triumph, @CarnivalCruise tweeted, “Of course the bathrobes for the Carnival Triumph are complimentary.”

It was a remarkably tone-deaf finish to a week-long public relations fiasco that began Sunday night when an engine fire crippled the Caribbean-bound ship and set it adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. Nonstop news coverage and social media chatter brought the public vivid images of the fetid conditions aboard the Triumph. Reports from passengers included details about overflowing toilets, hours-long waits to get food and flooded rooms during the five days they were stranded at sea.

via Carnival Cruise Tells Passengers They Can Keep The Bathrobes In Total PR Fiasco.

The Art of Kissing: A 1936 Guide for Lovers, kith/kin, high school, Westminster Schools, memories, Brain Pickings: I had a friend in high school who got a hold of this.  I never laughed so hard as I did one night … Can anyone guess who possessed this “pamphlet”?

Between Edison’s scandalous footage of the first kiss in cinema in 1896 and Bill Plympton’s quirky animated guide to kissing a century later, the public image of lip-locking underwent some radical transformations. In 1936, the year my grandmother was born, a man named Hugh Morris penned a small illustrated pamphlet titled The Art of Kissing (public library), in which he guided young lovers through the techniques, tricks, and “approved methods of kissing,” including such varieties as “the spiritual kiss,” “the nip kiss,” “the pain kiss,” “the surprise kiss,” “the eyelash kiss,” and “the French soul kiss,” as well as tips on how to prepare for a kiss and how to approach a girl. Delightfully dated in its assumptions about love, heterosexuality, and marriage, it’s as much a charming time-capsule of a bygone era as it is a sure source of a good chuckle.

THE ‘VACUUM’ KISS

Here you start off by first opening your mouth a trifle just after you have been resting peacefully with closed lips. Indicate to your partner, by brushing her teeth with the tip of your tongue, that you wish for her to do likewise. The moment she responds, instead of caressing her mouth, suck inward as though you were trying to draw out the innards of an orange. If she knows of this kiss variation, your maid will act in the same way and withdraw the air from your mouth. In this fashion, in a very short while, the air will have been entirely drawn out of your mouths. Your lips will adhere so tightly that there will almost be pain, instead of pleasure. But it will be the sort of pain that is highly pleasurable. That may sound odd, but nevertheless it is a fact. Pain becomes so excruciating as to become pleasurable.

via The Art of Kissing: A 1936 Guide for Lovers | Brain Pickings.

Valentine’s Day memes, follow-up:  Since I was off FB for VD … I enjoyed a belated FB experience this morning.  Some are nice … some,  not so nice …

.

Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day gift, StoryCorps:  I think I’ll suggest this one to my husband for next year.  LOL

Looking for a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift? Grab your sweetheart and head to StoryCorps at the AHC to record your love story! Appointments are available this Saturday! http://ow.ly/hHctG

StoryCorps is pleased to be in partnership with the Atlanta History Center and Public Broadcasting Atlanta to record, preserve, and share the stories of communities in Atlanta.

via Atlanta, GA | StoryCorps.

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.

We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.

In the coming years we will build StoryCorps into an enduring institution that will touch the lives of every American family.

via About Us | StoryCorps.

Downton Abbey, The Dowager Countess, quotes, LOL: : )

‎”I do think a woman’s place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.”

Georgia, Yumion – the Vidalia Onion, Vidalia GA, kitschy, corporate mascots:  I must admit, I would go out of my way to see Yumion … I have done so to see the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile and the Famous Idaho® Potato Truck …

Explore Georgia

Be sure to look for Yumion, the Vidalia Onion, when you visit Vidalia, Georgia! http://budurl.com/Vidalia

Tiffanys,  Costco, knockoffs, retail, knockoffs, icons, iconic jewelry, blue boxes, diamond rings,  ABC News:  If I were a bride, I’d be ticked …

Speaking of retail, a wild story. A big fight between tiffany’s and costco. Tiffany’s wants the big box store to knock off the knockoffs, selling fake versions of its iconic jewelry.

Here’s abc’s tanya rivero. Reporter: It’s the little blue box, versus the big box retailer. On valentine’s day, as lovers everywhere snuggled,iffany and co.

Slapped costco with a lawsuit. These pictures allegedly show tiffany koffs inside a california costco. Tiffany sent someone in, bought one of the rings.

They were not made by tiffany. They are not tiffany rings. They have nothing to do with tiffany.

Reporter: Being sold at a fraction of what real tiffany rings cost. Everybody would love a deal on a tiffany ring. And unfortunately, it just doesn’t happen.

Tiffany diamonds are never on sale. Reporter: Tiffany alleges costco had been selling the fakes for years. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of engagement rings were sold using the tiffany trademark.

Reporter: A rep for costco told abc news, we will be making no comment on this story as it involves pending litigation. Court papers say an unnamed consumer blew the whistle, contacting a tiffany store to complain. She was offended by the fact that tiffany would be selling engagement rings in costco.

In this particular case, there’s enormous room for confusion among consumers because costco does sell a of big brands at deep discounts. Reporter: Shoppers at tiffany’s flagship store weighed in. You think you’re buying into a brand.

And you find out it’s a rip-off. When you buy a tiffany diamond, you’re buying into the row mant schism and there’s only one place to get it. Costco has removed all tiffany labels.

But tiffany is a suing for additional mary damages. And whether customers will sue remains to be seen. If you have any doubt about a tiffany’s item you own, you can bring it into a tiffany’s store.

They’ll tell you if it’s the real thing. Diamonds are never on sale.

via Tiffanys Battles Costco Over Knock Off Diamond Rings | Video – ABC News.

 weddings,  trends, gold, The Huffington Post:  I am pretty traditional … but  I really like the gold …

Beyond emerald and yellow, one of the fastest growing color trends this year in weddings is gold. For a while, gold had become passé as platinum gained in popularity and silver made a resurgence. However, gold is back, and here to stay. With sequins so popular (we’re on board!), and because this color can be paired with so many options from pink to black and white, all that glitters is GOLD for 2013.

With the help of patterns and rose gold, check out our favorite golden wedding ideas in the gallery.

via Kellee Khalil: 2013 Wedding Color Trend: Gold.

Twitter, David Boreanaz, Playmobil, adult play, random: So if I were to create a scene using playmobil figures, what would I create?

You see my photo!!!! Playmobil Bones!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Zb55U6pA

Twitter / lauris_dm: @David_Boreanaz You see my ….

elephants, internet videos, random:

VALUE9.com India

most happiest elephant in the world

via most happiest elephant in the world.

Marine Corps,  Chesty the Recruit, WSJ:

The Marine Corps on Friday unveiled their future mascot. If all goes as planned, Chesty the Recruit will become Private First Class Chesty XIV later this year, replacing Sgt Chesty XIII.

Chesty XIII became one of the most storied dogs in the long history of Marine Corps mascots when he faced off last year with Bravo, the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s golden retriever.

As chronicled in The Wall Street Journal, the growling confrontation earned Chesty a promotion to Sergeant and raised the bulldog’s reputation among many of the enlisted and officers at the Marine Corps barracks. But it didn’t sit too well with some of the officer’s wives.

Some of the women viewed Chesty the XIII as crotchety and ill-mannered to guests. (Check out the video here.)

The Marines rolled out the red carpet for 9-week old Chesty the Recruit Thursday night at the Home of the Commandants at the Washington, D.C., Marine Barracks. Bonnie Amos, the wife of Marine Corps Commandant James Amos, met the latest Chesty Thursday night.

via Marines Roll Out Red Carpet for Chesty the Recruit – Washington Wire – WSJ.

short stories, literary genres, publishing, book industry, NYTimes.com.

The Internet may be disrupting much of the book industry, but for short-story writers it has been a good thing.

Story collections, an often underappreciated literary cousin of novels, are experiencing a resurgence, driven by a proliferation of digital options that offer not only new creative opportunities but exposure and revenue as well.

“It is the culmination of a trend we have seen building for five years,” said Cal Morgan, the editorial director of Harper Perennial Originals, who until last year ran a blog called Fifty-Two Stories, devoted to short fiction. “The Internet has made people a lot more open to reading story forms that are different from the novel, and you see a generation of writers very engaged in experimentation.”

via A Good Fit for Small Screens, Short Stories Are Selling – NYTimes.com.




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