Posts Tagged ‘lenten practices

06
Mar
19

3.6.19 … “Mamma mia, here I go again. My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again, My my, just how much I’ve missed you?“

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (1/40), Myers Park Methodist Church Francis Chapel – Charlotte NC, Myers Park Baptist Church-Charlotte NC, Ash Wednesday, Lenten Practices, List making, kith/kin:

So I’m planning my forty 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks and this pops into my head ….

Mamma mia, here I go again

My my, how can I resist you?

Mamma mia, does it show again

My my, just how much I’ve missed you?

And at 10 my Davidson roommate and labyrinth walking buddy calls … she’s already walked at Epiphany Catholic Church in Anchorage KY (near Louisville).

I’ve been wondering if anyone else walks daily or weekly during Lent. With the adoption of Lent by many mainstream Protestant denominations there has been a steady increase of including spiritual disciplines and practices in faith formation.

Lent is a good time to begin a new practice of daily or weekly labyrinth walking. The Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress differentiates a practice from a discipline. She says,

“A practice is more flexible than a discipline. A discipline is usually done at a certain time each day. There are specific methods or techniques to enter into it. The practice of labyrinth walking is guided by what you need from the walk. … Use a labyrinth when it calls you. When you want the benefits of a quiet mind, a prayerful heart, a release from controlling behavior, find your way to a labyrinth.” (Artress, 2006, pg. 6)

At Harmony Grove UMC, where I coordinate the Labyrinth Ministry, on occasions I have issued the following invitation.

Start Something New for Lent

“This year don’t give something up for Lent. This year start something new: the spiritual practice of walking the labyrinth daily or weekly.

Source: Ministry Matters™ | Labyrinth Walks for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter,https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/4736/labyrinth-walks-for-lent-holy-week-and-easter

So what else will I do?

1. I will take 40 labyrinth walks

2. I will use multiple devotionals including the Henry Nouwen book and study guide being used by my church and the Myers Park Methodist Lent devotional booklet.

3. I will attend worship at my church.

4. I will pay attention to what my friends post. And ask questions and respond.

5. I will make 40 lists: Lenten Practices and Disciplines, List of lists, gratitude, labyrinth resources, Lenten devotional resources. (This counts as one list)

With pleasant anticipation, I dressed in my Chartres Cathedral polyester silk like scarf and headed out. “Mamma mia, here I go again.”

As I drove to my labyrinth chosen for Walk 1/40, I received telephone call number two from a friend, which in this case happens to be my sister, informing me that she was walking a labyrinth today on Ash Wednesday. And she sent me a picture and told me that her walk at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Marietta GA had been, “Very Cold. I walked in one foot in front of the other and out backward. Tricky for me. Had to balance and really concentrate.”

(And yes, even our shadows resemble each other!)

Today’s walk was hopefully going to be in the Francis Chapel at Myers Park Methodist Church, the location of my very first Ash Wednesday walk in 2012. Although I knew that there was a delay in opening this new in door permanent stone labyrinth to the public, I still hoped that I would be able to walk privately today as I did several weeks ago with my friend Toni. But that was not to be; the labyrinth and the chapel are inaccessible due to the continued construction in connection with the installation of the new organ.

So I quickly regrouped and headed to Myers Park Baptist Church.

Today‘s walk was a very sensory-filled walk, especially sounds and physical feelings. I heard a jackhammer, a truck backing up, a worker making a whooping noise which I assumed was to alert another worker of danger, and the chimes announcing 11:30 AM at Queens College. I also noticed the cold as it was about 40°. There was a light breeze in blindingly bright sunshine. I always enjoy walking in and out of the sunshine, and today the sun shining live all but one corner of the labyrinth.

A few other observations… The lost child’s princess headband stuck in the lamp sculpture and the very bedraggled rosemary along the edge.

Toward the end I want, I realized that the breeze a very cool breeze, was picking up and I was actually cold. My hands felt icy cold.

After my luck, I continued on my way to my church First Presbyterian Church at Charlotte which was hosting a lunch at noon followed by a Ash Wednesday a position of ashes service says in the small and intimate Good Samaritan Ben Long Fresco Lobby.

The Lobby is worth visiting ..,

Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan was chosen as the subject of the fresco because it deals with a fundamental question of a center city church: “Who is our neighbor?” It symbolizes the mission of First Presbyterian Church to be a witness “For Christ in the Heart of Charlotte” to the thousands of people who live and work in downtown Charlotte.

Immediately upon entering the front doors of the Fellowship Hall, a dramatic image of the Samaritan bending over a beaten and bloodied stranger serves as an important reminder of the intimate relationship between the teachings of Christ and the work we are called to do. It measures 8 feet high and 28 feet long and is painted in the true fresco style of the 15th century masters.

Source: First Presbyterian Church — Ben Long Fine Art,
http://www.benlongfineart.com/first-presbyterian-church

I sat at the luncheon with Pen Perry, our senior minister. And as with the anticipated, we discussed our traditions around Ash Wednesday and Lent. I was significantly older than anyone else at the table, and my traditions around Lent did not happen until after I was 50 years old.

After the luncheon, we proceeded into the Good Samaritan Lobby which was set up intentionally with Pen being included in the community rather than “preaching” from the pulpit. The service was short and impactful, and I left with the ash cross on my hand. When I looked down shortly afterwards, I realized that the mark had at all but disappeared and all I could see was my very wrinkled and old looking hand. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” … Actually this line is not in the Bible, but derives from Genesis 3:19 – “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

After telling one of my children that I had attended an Ash Wednesday Service, he immediately sent me this article. I think mainline denominations are reaching out to nontraditional millennials in both traditional ways reimagined and nontraditional ways in nontraditional places. And funny that my son picked up on this story on the twitter feed of the blogger “Bar Stool Sports” …

If you needed ashes for Ash Wednesday, many churches made it convenient to get it while still going about your normal day’s routine.

On what is a special religious day for Christians, many churches offered “Ashes to Go,” for example, at bus and train stations in the D.C. area, something that is becoming more and more common in today’s fast-paced culture of express delivery, instant meals and live-streaming TV.

In one such instance Wednesday, at the Shady Grove Metro station in Rockville, ashes became available starting at 7 a.m. for those getting on and off their train.

The “Ashes to Go” initiative was launched over a decade ago by an episcopal church in St. Louis. The goal is to pull religion from the pews and bring the Holy Spirit into regular, busy places.

Source: Churches offer ‘Ashes to Go’ for Ash Wednesday at bus, train stations in D.C. area | WJLA, http://wjla.com/news/local/churches-offer-ashes-to-go-ash-wednesday-dc-area

I ran across this article in Presbyterian Outlook recently.

While some Protestants still struggle with what to make of Lent (“Isn’t that a Catholic thing?”), increasingly Presbyterian congregations are seeking creative approaches for making the season meaningful – including giving people opportunities to explore spiritual practices and to bring depth and a sense of community to the weeks leading to Easter.

The practices are varied — from the program Lent 4.5, which focuses on simplicity and caring for the earth; to study groups in which a congregation reads a book together (recent examples include theologian Richard Lischer’s “Stations of the Heart,” about lessons learned through the death of his son, and “Daring Greatly,” in which research scientist Brené Brown explores the value of vulnerability and imperfection); to the exploration of ancient spiritual practices. Last year, for example, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina, offered a series of study sessions called “Practicing Life into Wholeness” — exploring spiritual practices including centering prayer, lectio divina and the daily examen.

Source: Lent is for Presbyterians, too: Creative, connectional disciplines – The Presbyterian Outlook, https://pres-outlook.org/2015/02/lent-presbyterians-creative-connectional-disciplines/

And this from my good friend Mary Bowman at Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian here in Charlotte:

In the simplest terms, Lent is 40 days set aside to prepare for Easter – beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Holy Saturday (the Saturday before Easter).

Ash Wednesday, also known as the imposition of ashes, derives its name from the practice of placing ashes in the shape of a cross on our foreheads as a reminder that we are temporary beings and it is only God who can conquer death and give the gift of eternal life. In other words, we remember we are finite and sinful (a bit of a mess) and we need God.

Lent, which comes from the Greek word for “fortieth,” is a time for us to focus on our relationship with God and draw closer through self-reflection and spiritual activities such as prayer, meditation, repentance/confession, worship, fasting (giving up something), Scripture reading, serving others, etc. These spiritual “disciplines” allow us to open ourselves to God so we can grow in our faith, in our gratitude for God’s undeserved love, and in our own self-understanding as children of God.

If you are someone who likes to count things, you may realize that there are more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday (March 6) and Easter (April 21). During this serious time of reflection and preparation for Good Friday and Easter, we continue to have mini-Easters (which are Sundays) where we continue to celebrate all the Jesus has done for us. If you are counting the days, the Sundays don’t count because they are an important reminder of the ultimate story.

Source: Our Blog – Lent 101: Let Us Prepare Together, http://www.selwynpres.org/our-blog/lent-101-let-us-prepare-together/

And I must add this:

“Did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust?” I am in a wildly different place than when I wrote those words as part of an Ash Wednesday blessing six years ago, in what would turn out to be my last Lent with Gary. And I can say now: I know what God can do with dust. And I am learning still. As the season of Lent arrives, what blessing do you need to claim from the ashes?

BLESSING THE DUST

All those days

you felt like dust,

like dirt,

as if all you had to do

was turn your face

toward the wind

and be scattered

to the four corners

or swept away

by the smallest breath

as insubstantial—

did you not know

what the Holy One

can do with dust?

This is the day

we freely say

we are scorched.

This is the hour

we are marked

by what has made it

through the burning.

This is the moment

we ask for the blessing

that lives within

the ancient ashes,

that makes its home

inside the soil of

this sacred earth.

So let us be marked

not for sorrow.

And let us be marked

not for shame.

Let us be marked

not for false humility

or for thinking

we are less

than we are

but for claiming

what God can do

within the dust,

within the dirt,

within the stuff

of which the world

is made

and the stars that blaze

in our bones

and the galaxies that spiral

inside the smudge

we bear.

—Jan Richardson

from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Image: “Ash Wednesday Cross” © Jan Richardson

janrichardsonimages.com

Mamma mia, here I go again

My my, how can I resist you?

Mamma mia, does it show again

My my, just how much I’ve missed you?

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust …

3.6.19

13
Mar
14

3.13.14 … I’m not where I’m supposed to be today …

“Solvitur Ambulando”  – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (7/40), Wedgewood Church – Charlotte NC, James Howell/Myers Park UMC, Lenten practices:
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I’m not where I’m supposed to be today.  I am supposed to be in Atlanta, but I am here, walking a labyrinth I do not particularly like, driving a car that I do not particularly like …
As to why I am here and not Atlanta, that is another story.
As to why I am walking at Wedgewood Church which I do not particularly like.  I have not walked this labyrinth since August 18 of last year. There’s a reason, although it is a perfect Chartres style labyrinth, the path is made of pebbles, just the right size to get in your shoes.  I continually think as I walk: why would you build a labyrinth that is not accessible to children or to the elderly?  Neither group can walk and children cannot play in the gravel.
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But this is NOT a good one to walk today on this  morning. It’s in the shade and sits atop a small knoll. And it’s cold and blustery.
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Like I said, this is not a good one to walk today.  However, I will walk anyway because part of my Lenten  labyrinth practice  is to walk each labyrinth in my community each week, and this one actually is relatively  close to my home.
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photo 1
My hands are cold and are  shoved in my pockets,  except when I flex them to warm them.
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I do enjoy the trees that share the space.
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And as for the car that I don’t particularly like.    I am motoring about in a 1997 red jeep with huge ass wheels and manual transmission.  it’s just not my thing.
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So looking for blessings as I walk.
And now I am home, and this is in my email …

Our Eyes are upon You

In a way, one of the most emotionally healthy prayers in the Bible is the one offered by obscure King Jehoshaphat: under attack, about to lead his people into a difficult battle, the King prays, “Lord, we do not know what to do; but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

The life of faith isn’t about having all the answers, or never questioning; in fact, the deeper we go with God, the greater the mystery. Sometimes we have no clue what to do; but we can relax, as not knowing can be a hopeful dependence upon God alone. “Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

How do we keep our eyes upon the Lord? Too many of us wait until there’s a crisis; then desperately we wonder, Where is God? It is so much better, healthier, and more satisfying to know where God is all the time – and the way to live near God is by spiritual habits, practices, disciplines. Time must be blocked out for prayer, reflection, reading – and these set times must be inviolable. If praying can be postponed this time, it can be next time – and pretty soon you aren’t praying at all.

In our emails this month we will suggest some practices that may prove helpful to you. They aren’t easy; we won’t feed you delicious little morsels of inspiring, cross-stitchable witticisms. Physically, we don’t get healthy but eating sweet little candies; it takes a well-rounded diet, saying No to the sweets, exercise, a whole new life.

The first, essential commitment is to say I will keep my eyes upon the Lord; I will relax and be attentive to God. With so many distractions, and so much busy-ness, you have to carve out time, and a place – and decide this will be the year God becomes not just another thing, but thebig thing.

And so as Lent is underway, together let’s find our way to God, not merely in a crisis, but today, tomorrow, this afternoon, tomorrow evening.

A prayer from the Daily Office: “Father, I know how often I am carried away by too many concerns and demands. Deliver me from this whirlwind around me, and in me. Heal my tired, weary spirit, allowing the wisdom that comes from rest in you to flow deep within me.”

James

james@mpumc.org

So maybe I am where I am supposed to be.  Crunch, crunch, crunch!

13
Feb
13

2.13.13 … Ash Wednesday … marked by ashes or just imposed on …

Lenten practices, the 40 Days of Lent, Sorting it Out, labyrinth walk, giving up Facebook, drinking only water, Walter Brueggemann, Marked By Ashes – The Journey with Jesus: 

Lent, the period of prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter, is 40 days long, but there are 46 days between Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, and Easter. How can that be?

Answer: The answer takes us back to the earliest days of the Church. Christ’s original disciples, who were Jewish, grew up with the idea that the Sabbath—the day of worship and of rest—was Saturday, the seventh day of the week, since the account of creation in Genesis says that God rested on the seventh day.

Christ rose from the dead, however, on Sunday, the first day of the week, and the early Christians, starting with the apostles (those original disciples), saw Christ’s Resurrection as a new creation, and so they transferred the sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

Since all Sundays—and not simply Easter Sunday—were days to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, Christians were forbidden to fast and do other forms of penance on those days. Therefore, when the Church expanded the period of fasting and prayer in preparation for Easter from a few days to 40 days (to mirror Christ’s fasting in the desert, before He began His public ministry), Sundays could not be included in the count.

Thus, in order for Lent to include 40 days on which fasting could occur, it had to be expanded to six full weeks (with six days of fasting in each week) plus four extra days—Ash Wednesday and the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday that follow it. Six times six is thirty-six, plus four equals forty. And that’s how we arrive at the 40 days of Lent!

via How Are the 40 Days of Lent Calculated? – How To Calculate the 40 Days of Lent.

I am trying a few: regular labyrinth walks, drinking only water, and  …

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 11.39.32 PM

GIVE UP BEVERAGES

To be clear: we’re not asking you to fast for Forty days. We’re just asking you to ditch the morning coffee and o.j., leave out the lunchtime soda, and cancel the evening beverage in lieu of clean water from the tap. By sacrificing your daily routine, you will make a difference in the daily routine of a person in Africa.

It’s a big commitment to not drink anything but water for Forty days. But from February 13th to March 30th, that’s exactly what we’re asking you to do. It’s a lot easier if you do it with other people like your friends or family. Remember, Sundays are feast days! You get to enjoy your favorite beverages one day out of the week, which will remind you just how much you miss them the other 6 days.

Be sure to visit the webstore to order a new Blood:Water bottle to remind you to head to the tap!

By giving up what you’d normally drink in exchange for the water from your tap you can save that money to help build clean water projects for communities in Uganda!

You can stay updated on the work you are enabling by reading our BLOG and UGANDA PROJECT UPDATES.

via Forty Days | 40 Days of Water | Blood Water Mission | How to Take Part.

My favorite Lenten thought . . . ..

Sorting it Out

a Lenten toolbox for adjusting your focus and supporting your soul

Rather than viewing Lent as a season of drab and dreary self-examination and sacrifice that waters down its spiritual potency, we might see it as a time offered to us each year simply to sort things out. It can be an intentional period of 40 days that can be used to realign the disorder in our life that keep us out of balance with our own soul and with the God who loves us boundlessly, unconditionally, and eternally. Using Lent to take an honest look at the disarray inside ourselves with an eye to discarding the debris leaves us renewed, with eagerness, enthusiasm, gratitude, and a readiness to offer ourselves to God and to the world.

via explorefaith.org – Sorting It Out..

Walter Brueggemann, Marked By Ashes – The Journey with Jesus:

Marked by Ashes by Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933)

Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .

This day — a gift from you.

This day — like none other you have ever given, or we have ever received.

This Wednesday dazzles us with gift and newness and possibility.

This Wednesday burdens us with the tasks of the day, for we are already halfway home

halfway back to committees and memos,

halfway back to calls and appointments,

halfway on to next Sunday,

halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,

half turned toward you, half rather not.

This Wednesday is a long way from Ash Wednesday,

but all our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —

we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:

of failed hope and broken promises,

of forgotten children and frightened women,

we ourselves are ashes to ashes, dust to dust;

we can taste our mortality as we roll the ash around on our tongues.

We are able to ponder our ashness with

some confidence, only because our every Wednesday of ashes

anticipates your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.

On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —

you Easter parade of newness.

Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,

Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;

Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.

Come here and Easter our Wednesday with

mercy and justice and peace and generosity.

We pray as we wait for the Risen One who comes soon.

via Walter Brueggemann – Marked By Ashes – The Journey with Jesus.

“Solvitur Ambulando”  – It is solved by walking, 2013 Lenten Walks, MPBC, MPUMC:

Ash Wednesday walk with a favorite labyrinth partner, Cheryl.  We walked MPBC in the rain. It was a wonderful walk.  Although I did not calm my mind down as much as I like, I did love what came to my racing mind’s attention. Note the leafless/lifeless tress … the earthworm  – “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”  … reflection of the umbrella in the sculpted lighting … rosemary blooms – and rosemary always makes me think of Dan’s mom and this quote from Hamlet –

Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Act 4. Scene V OPHELIA:

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray,

love, remember: and there is pansies. that’s for thoughts.

via Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Act 4. Scene V.

Then coffee at Queens with Cheryl …   And how we have endless things than we can talk about.
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Second walk … at MPUMC, the site of my first Lenten Walk last year.  Not quite as “thin” an experience as last year, but still a useful “practice.”  I do love the last photo … a reflection of the canvas labyrinth in the stained glass doors …
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2013 Festival of Legal Learning, Using the Cloud, National Security Law Update:
First, I learned that I am way behind on using cloud-based resources.  🙂

Using the Cloud: Resources, Protections and Ethical Considerations by Steve J. Melamut, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, UNC School of Law and Information Technology Services Librarian, Kathrine R. Everett Law Library

Lawyers are increasingly interested in using cloud- based resources such as Dropbox, Box, iCloud, SkyDrive and UbuntuOne for file storage and easy access from multiple locations. Come to this session to learn about client related security and ethical obligations.

And second, every thing about Mr. Silliman’s presentation was interesting … very sad that this will be his last after 15+ years of presenting.

National Security Law Update by Scott L. Silliman, Professor of the Practice of Law, Duke University School of Law; and Judge, United States Court of Military Commission Review

This session will focus on a number of current national security topics including issues pertaining to targeted killings, including the killing of American citizens, the trial of alleged terrorists in military commissions, and surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

unfriending,  Facebook, Julia Angwin, online  privacy: Privacy issues … have you ever considered this?
I am going to spend this week “unfriending” all of my Facebook friends because I have come to believe that Facebook cannot provide me the level of privacy that I need. And yet, I am not quitting entirely because I believe that as an author and a journalist, it is important to have a Facebook presence.

My specific concern with Facebook is what NYU Professor Helen Nissenbaum calls a lack of “contextual integrity,” – which is a fancy way of saying that when I share information with a certain group or friend on Facebook, I am often surprised by where the data ends up.

Professor Nissenbaum argues that many online services – of which Facebook is simply the most prominent example –share information in ways that violate the social norms established in offline human relationships.

via Why I’m unfriending you on Facebook | Julia Angwin.

Davidson, Breakfast of Champions – Beer & chili feast, Food and Dining: Hmmmm …

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

This Saturday, Feb. 16, the Davidson Farmer’s Market and Summit Coffee will present another Breakfast of Champions,, a morning feast of chili and beer!

via Beer & chili feast, new pizza shop, Flying Fish moves | Food and Dining.

Scholastic,  Harry Potter  Series, all-new cover art,  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: 15 years; 7 new covers …  As always, I like the old ones …

Accio some thrilling news! Today, Scholastic unveiled an all-new cover for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! And better yet, it’s just the first of seven (7!) new covers that will appear on U.S. trade paperback editions coming in September 2013. It’s all part of the upcoming 15th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in J.K. Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter series.

The fact that we’re releasing new covers is awesome, but even more amazing is the incredible illustrator who designed them: Kazu Kibuishi! (You might know his name from his best-selling Amulet series, published by our Graphix imprint!) Kibuishi is a longtime Harry Potter fan who called this opportunity, “more than a little surreal.”

via 15 years; 7 new covers!.

 Atlanta GA, Four Days of Fury: Atlanta 1906, Atlanta History Center:

 

Four Days of Fury: Atlanta 1906, by resident playwright Addae Moon, involves audiences in the ideas, debates, emotions, and perspectives that led to the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot – a pivotal, yet unfamiliar event in Atlanta’s history.

Discover 1906 with trailblazing African American journalist, J. Max Barber, editor of Voice of the Negro in this provocative gallery-based theater experience exploring the headlines, people, and events of one of the city’s seminal episodes of race and memory.

Barber leads audience members through eight memory stations designed to place participants among the sights and sounds of 1906 Atlanta. The memory stations explore themes including disenfranchisement, Jim Crow laws, the Niagara Movement, segregation, fairness and equality, and the power of the media. At each memory station, guests meet and interact with historical characters such as Thomas Dixon, author of The Clansman, and Atlanta Judge Nash Broyles, as well as average citizens affected by the event. The actors, sound and music, sets and props, movement and images help to immerse the visitor and make history come to life in this History Matters production.

via Atlanta History Center | Four Days of Fury: Atlanta 1906 | Atlanta, GA.

Catholic Stephen Colbert,  Pope Benedict’s resignation, Presbyterians: I don’t know why he’s picking on Presbyterians … just watch the whole thing … too many zingers to list them all …

 “No pope is black smoke, a new pope is white smoke, I assume slacker pope is bong smoke,” he joked.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOlsbVVGja0&feature=share&list=PLCD54AAAA6AF29ED5]

Worst of all, the pope’s departure on Feb. 28  is going to leave the church’s top vacant for as long as a month. Colbert predicted “a Catholic free-for-all” where the once-devout will be “passing out Pez dispensers full of birth control pills, using the Lord’s name in vain, coveting thy neighbor’s wife, killing anybody you want. It’ll be like being a Presbyterian.”

via Catholic Stephen Colbert outraged by Pope Benedict’s resignation – latimes.com.

11
Feb
13

2.11.13 … What does a Pope do in retirement? …

Pope Benedict XVI , Bishop of Rome Emeritus, retirement, legal issues, papal enclave, twitter:  I don’t think anyone was expecting this … I woke up early today and was immediately hit with the news that the Pope was going to retire effective 2.28.13.  And i immediate wondered out loud on FB, “So the Pope is going to resign. What does a Pope do in retirement?”  Noting that, according to BR:

“The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, who left the papacy in 1415 to end what was known as the Western Schism among numerous competitors for the papacy.”

My pundit friends went into action …

BT: Invite him to bingo

MP: Retired Popes fly around in their cool hats with their flying nuns.

 And then the twitters started tow tweet …

Nate Silver
@fivethirtyeight
No pope has resigned since 1415, which is also the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning record.

Conan O’Brien Presents: Team Coco

The Pope resigned earlier today & Dan Brown has already written two thrillers about it.

via The Pope resigned….

Team Coco ‏@TeamCoco

Strange but true: for over 2000 years, Cardinals have picked the new Pope via rock/paper/scissors.

But my favorite was the husband of a friend …

David McDaniel ‏@DMcDaniel

Poor Notre Dame. They lose the BCS championship, then the Manti Te’o thing. Now they face the 2013 season with a rookie pope.

And the political cartoons … field day …

.

via The Platzner Post

But there are lots of interesting issues given that the last pope to retire was Gregory XII, who left the papacy in 1415 …

Q: How does one refer to a retired pope?

Benedict XVI would technically retain the title, Bishop of Rome Emeritus. “I doubt he would use the papal titles, but that’s something to be decided on,” said Father Kaslyn.

via A Legal Guide To Papal Resignation – Law Blog – WSJ.

And the consensus is … all bets are off.

The papal conclave—the secretive meeting of Roman Catholic cardinals to elect a new pope—is expected to start shortly after the end of February, when Pope Benedict XVI, at 85 years old, said Monday he would step down.

The more than 120 voting cardinals will likely debate whether to select a low-key gradualist or someone who is going to govern with grand gestures, such as Pope Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II. In recent conclaves, cardinals have been split between those who take a more conservative approach to the church’s teaching and those open to changing some of the age-old tenets of Catholicism.

There is a saying among Vatican watchers that cardinals who are tipped as popes before the conclave begins rarely actually get the job. “The race is really wide open,” said Giuseppe Di Leo, a longtime Vatican journalist for Italian radio Radio Radicale.

The voting by cardinals to elect the next pope takes place behind the locked doors of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. Under highly detailed procedures, only cardinals under the age of 80 can vote in the conclave, and secret ballots can be cast once on the first day, then twice during each subsequent morning and evening session.

Cardinals must have a two-thirds majority to elect a new pope; a runoff may be held between the top two candidates if the voting goes as far as 34 rounds. Except for periodic pauses, the voting continues until a new pontiff is elected.

When a successor is elected, the ballots are burned dry to produce the white smoke that signals the church has a new pope.

via Contenders in Line to be Pope – WSJ.com.

And I also did a quick review of popes … List of popes – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

“Solvitur Ambulando”  – It is solved by walking, labyrinth walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Lenten practices: 

I took a nighttime walk on February 11. It is 62° in Charlotte and so warm that I am walking in shoes flats with no socks like it’s summertime. I am wearing only a sweater, too.
The walk was quite nice, my first nighttime walk on the Avondale labyrinth. It is not well lighted, so I am making my way partly from limited visibility and partly from memory. Their are branches from the recent storms on the labyrinth.
I can’t wait to start my Lenten practice of walking a labyrinth  “almost daily”. Forty two days of walking and solving, I am very very excited.

IMG_5524 IMG_5517 IMG_5521 IMG_5522 IMG_5516

Marthame Sanders, Sermon: Changing God,  i feast therefore i am, Transfiguration Sunday: As I mentioned yesterday, I loved my own pastor’s sermon yesterday, but since I follow Mathame, I really enjoyed his as well … and they are very different.

When it comes to the church, I think we can fear change because we think we are messing with something that is eternal and unchanging. In other words, rather than asking God to change us, we worry that are trying to change God (or, at least, repackage God) in order to please people. I also think that this fear comes from a good place. Is the change we implement a cop out? When we do things like broaden our styles of music, or project worship information on a screen or a wall, are we dumbing down faith, cheapening it? Or are we using current technology in the way that Martin Luther utilized the new-fangled printing press to spread the word of God? Or, perhaps, is there something else altogether at stake?

And that is the challenge of Transfiguration, of trusting in a God who changes us more than we could ever change God. You see, the temptation of that moment on the mountain top is to stay there. Peter wants to build shrines, to preserve the spectacle in a way that it would last. The truth is that these moments are often fleeting. We get glimpses of heaven here. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the celebratory feeling of a full Sanctuary on Christmas Eve; or the intimate power of footwashing on Maundy Thursday; or the intellectual and spiritual challenge of Bible study; or the blessed gift of serving in the Food Pantry or Habitat or Journey or the Bargain Shop. There are moments in our life as a church that we are tempted to think, “If only it could be like this all of the time!” If only we could enshrine these moments and live within them now and forever. If only…

But that’s the thing: the purpose of these moments is not the possibility of their permanence. Their very power is in the fact that they are fleeting. The question is whether we are open to allowing them to change us…now and forever.

What is that moment today? Where is your glimpse of the kingdom going to be? Will you recognize it when you see it? Will you make room for it to change you?

via Changing God « i feast therefore i am.

Jerry Sandusky, faith, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, CNN Belief Blog: Although I did not attend this session, my cohort in crime did … And I came away wondering what was Sandusky’s faith and how had his faith home responded to the Sandusky’s crimes.  Did St. Paul’s United Methodist Church exhibit “moral courage?”

Ethical Action and the Penn State Scandal: Lessons for Lawyers

Kimberly J. Strom-Gottfried, Smith P. Theimann Distinguished Professor for Ethics and Professional Practice, UNC School of Social Work

this session will explore ethical issues raised by the Penn State football scandal, most particularly, the ethical dilemmas raised by actions by Jerry Sandusky in connection with the campus football program and Sandusky’s Second Mile charity developed to help disadvantaged young people.

Ed Zeiders, the senior pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, did not shy away from addressing the conviction of his congregant and friend on child sex abuse charges, asking his congregation to “pray for all of those who are victims and for all of those who are predators.”

Zeiders began his sermon with a question.

“In light of the misery, sorrow and suffering we see, affecting every aspect of our life, within us, in the midst of us, and around us – what are we to do,” he asked. “The world needs an answer, our community deserves an answer, and we need to answer together what is the most efficacious way to move forward from here.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories

Saying that the eyes of the nation are fixed on the State College community and, to some degree, on the community of St Paul’s, Zeiders said that “in the midst of the raging storms around us” the church had an opportunity.

“If ever a local congregation has been given a moment to…..reveal what it means to be Christian,” Zeiders said, “this is that congregation in this moment in history.”

Zeiders spoke to what he said was the transformative power and saving grace of God, making a connection between faith and ethical behavior. “If we are to claim Jesus as savior,” he said, “we must, without fail, come face-to-face with our own morality.”

via Sandusky’s pastor addresses conviction from pulpit – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

Rep. Rick Nolan (MN -D), Constitutional Amendment, Citizens United: This will be interesting to watch.

A Democratic Minnesota congressman is introducing a constitutional amendment designed to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case that lifted many restrictions on corporate spending in political elections.

Rep. Rick Nolan unveiled the proposal on Monday along with members of Move to Amend, a grassroots coalition that has been seeking support on the local level in communities for the amendment. They say political campaign spending should not be a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

The 2010 Citizens United ruling paved the way for a flood of campaign cash from corporations, unions and wealthy interests.

Any effort to amend the U.S. Constitution faces daunting hurdles.

Supporters of the Citizens United decision say it upholds the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

via Rick Nolan, Minnesota Democrat, Unveils Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United.

Pioneers! O Space Pioneers!, Walt Whitman, NASA,  mashup, Brain Pickings:

“Conquering, holding, daring, venturing as we go the unknown ways, Pioneers! O pioneers!”

On the heels of yesterday’s animated adaptation of Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot and Ray Bradbury’s passionate case for space exploration earlier this week comes a dynamic mashup of Walt Whitman’s poem “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” and awe-inspiring footage of mankind’s cosmic triumphs. Conceived before Neil Armstrong’s passing but released this past Labor Day, the video pays homage to the beloved pioneer and casts a hopeful eye towards the future of space exploration.

via Pioneers! O Space Pioneers! A Walt Whitman + NASA Mashup | Brain Pickings.

Chicago, bars,  best bar in the world,  Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert’s Journal, The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer, The Host, The Geriatric Genius: I just like this Ebert post. 🙂

Bea’s gift inspired Bruce’s blog, The Geriatric Genius, in which Elliott shows himself in the direct line of descent from the Host in the 15th century The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s character is the central figure and narrator of the Tales, the one who knows all the others and is their common bond, yet rarely takes an active role during their pilgrimage. It is he who names them, convenes their nightly meetings, observes what they do, hears their secrets, and tells of their weaknesses.

And briefly, when the sun had gone to rest,

So had I spoken with them, every one,

That I was of their fellowship anon,

And made agreement that we’d early rise

To take the road, as you I will apprise.

But none the less, whilst I have time and space,

Before yet farther in this tale I pace,

It seems to me accordant with reason

To inform you of the state of every one

Of all of these, as it appeared to me,

And who they were, and what was their degree,

And even how arrayed there at the inn.

The Host relates the stories of such as the Wife of Bath, the Nun’s Priest, the Three Rioters and Old John the Carpenter, “who foolishly marries a lively young girl.” Bruce’s blog follows the nightly adventures of such regulars as Street Jimmy, Bruce Faggypants, Ruben Nine Toes, D Train, Porn Star, the Cougar, Buzzkill, Larry Asshole, Connie the Crack Whore, Craig the Drunk, Fatal Attraction, Sleepy John, Johnny Ale, and the Counselor, waging their battles against reality. Many people without code names also come in, including talent from Second City across the street and Zanie’s comedy club around the corner, and yuppies, cops, robbers and respectable yuppies–whose tales don’t interest Bruce. Yuppies visited the bar twice in the recent indie movie “Other Children,” which completely failed to capture its character.

via The best bar in the world that I know about – Roger Ebert’s Journal.

Commencement Speeches, lists, Conan O’Brien, failure, Brain Pickings:  I think my favorite is Conan’s …

For decades, in show business, the ultimate goal of every comedian was to host The Tonight Show. It was the Holy Grail, and like many people I thought that achieving that goal would define me as successful. But that is not true. No specific job or career goal defines me, and it should not define you. In 2000 — in 2000 — I told graduates to not be afraid to fail, and I still believe that. But today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.

via 5½ Timeless Commencement Speeches to Teach You to Define Your Own Success | Brain Pickings.

St. Francis of Assisi, quotes, art, Rawforbeauty:

via Rawforbeauty.

Apple, Curved-Glass Smart Watch, Dick Tracy, Inspector Gadget , James Bond, NYTimes.com: Dick Tracy … Inspector Gadget  … James Bond … me 🙂

Dick Tracy and James Bond had watches that served as computers. Tim Cook of Apple wears a Nike FuelBand, which tracks his physical activity.

Dick Tracy had one. As did Inspector Gadget and James Bond. A watch that doubled as a computer, two-way radio, mapping device or television.

Though such a device has been lost to science fiction comics and spy movies of the era before smartphones, the smart watch might soon become a reality, in the form of a curved glass device made by Apple.

via Disruptions: Apple Is Said to Be Developing a Curved-Glass Smart Watch – NYTimes.com.

Les Miserables, Victor Hugo, civil war, Civil War, random, NYTimes.com: Random, but a very interesting tie-in …

Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” was published in 1862 and English translations of the five parts that constitute the novel began to appear in America by year’s end. Hugo had begun the sprawling novel in the 1840s, put it aside, and come back to complete it between 1860 and 1862. He was an opponent of slavery, and in 1859 defended John Brown. “Insurrection,” he said, was a “sacred duty.” In the novel, Hugo name-checked Brown in a list of celebrated revolutionaries that included Washington, Bolivar and Garibaldi. Hugo’s focus was the July Revolution of 1830, but it is possible he had the American conflict in mind when he wrote, “Civil war … What did the words mean? Was there any such thing as ‘foreign war?’ Was not all warfare between men warfare between brothers?”

via In Camp, Reading ‘Les Miserables’ – NYTimes.com

Jazzy Vegetarian, Public Television, Blog Talk Radio: I think I will have to record this … Jazzy Vegetarian, Season 2 on Public Television 02/06 by The Jazzy Vegetarian | Blog Talk Radio.

2013 snow storm,  NYC, Bloomberg:  6 more inches to NYC!

A fast-moving storm is expected to drop new snow from the mid-Atlantic area to southern New England, including New York City and Long Island, the day after tomorrow, according to Brian Edwards at AccuWeather Inc.

A “narrow band of nuisance snow” will spread from the Ohio River Valley into Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia during the day Feb. 13, and snow may start in New York, Long Island and southern New England after dark, said Edwards, based in State College, Pennsylvania.

via Fast-Moving Storm May Bring 6 More Inches of Snow to NYC – Bloomberg.

Downton Abbey, #DowntonPBS, Twitter:  A few of my favorites from last night:

VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair)

2/10/13, 9:30 PM

Edith, post-Edwardian Gail Collins, hums “Stronger” while marching out of the newspaper offices. #DowntonPBS

2/10/13, 9:35 PM

Enrollment in the Downton Malfeasance Society now open to new members. Bring your brooms. #DowntonPBS

Laurel Ann Nattress (@Austenprose)

2/10/13, 9:47 PM

Mrs. Hughes now the new philosophical wit at Downton. #DowntonPBS

Laurel Ann Nattress (@Austenprose)

2/10/13, 10:01 PM

RT @EmmaDVelez: RT @theLadyGrantham: Well, that is an easy caveat to accept, because I am never wrong. #DowntonPBS




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