Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Letter of concern

"Concern" might be a little strong, but it was nice to receive an e-mail from Deedee asking if things were okay, since we weren't in church last Sunday. I was away on a week-long trip and the rest of the household were sick or tired and needing rest. But we'll be there tomorrow. I'm on deck to serve, and we'll be holding our Annual Parish Meeting after the service.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We did it again!

While catching up with the Internet I suddenly had a funny feeling -- did we schedule our Annual Parish Meeting (APM) on Superbowl Sunday? I had a vague recollection that for once I would not be away that Sunday. I looked it up and yes... we did it again!

I haven't noticed that doing so has reduced our turnout at the APM, particularly, though it makes some folks a little more eager to get home and less ready to talk the afternoon away. Memory says in recent years we're usually done sometime between 1 and 2 PM, which is well before the kickoff at 3:28 PST. Since we still have analog TV signals I might watch it to attain my average of one game per year.

I might... say, who's playing, anyway?


I had hoped to have something for the blog before now, but... there wasn't anything. With all our master chefs away or tied up at Microsoft, yesterday's breakfast became the Mens' McBreakfast, and at that only three of us made it. And I clearly felt the advance warning of some illness about to strike, which it did today. Fortunately the only symptom so far is extreme lethargy, but today I missed church and our class on Proverbs.

There probably won't be much to add for a couple of weeks because Wednesday I kick off a short period of travel with a week of various committee meetings in Chicago. But I'll be back for the Annual Parish Meeting before heading off to Germany, followed almost immediately by a week in Virginia. And then I can look forward to two whole months at home.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

All right, who ate the coin?

Today is the First Sunday in Epiphany. And things continue to be difficult this winter; we had record flooding last week and I'm not sure all our parishioners are yet able to get out due to floodwaters and destroyed roadbeds. (I live at a higher elevation; if the floods reached here my only option would be to break out the Ark.) And even so, there is STILL a little snow left from before Christmas.

Be that as it may, we're still celebrating with some of the decorations of Christmas including the Creche, now complete with Wise Men on camelback, and music other folks drop December 26th. But today's service featured a relatively new carol (did we sing it last year?) that I just loved, Hymn #762A, "Star in the East". The number tells me we would have never have sung it before Fr. McGrath asked us to replace our old, worn-out hymnals with new ones, and in a way it's interesting to have a 1940 Hymnal containing a hymn "harmonized" in 1974!

In any event we had the traditional Epiphany Cake today after the 10 AM service. Now one feature of the Epiphany Cake is a special element baked into it; our tradition is a coin. Last year we had a real puzzle because nobody reported finding the coin! Did somebody eat it unawares?

(Diane got this year's coin, so no mystery for this year.)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Return to heresy

With Advent and Christmas ended, and my (hopefully minimal) winter travel schedule not yet underway, I've picked up the book Heresies and How to Avoid Them again, and oh boy is it ever slow going. The first four addressed by the book were relatively easy, but after that it becomes a slog. Some of the later repeat elements of the earlier, but intellectually tie things in increasingly complex (I won't say Gordian) knots. None of this is helped by the translation of the Greek original of "heresy" into English as simply "choice."

What started out as a fairly light-hearted adventure through a small paperbound book is becoming anything but light-hearted. Worst is the repeated realization that these heresies are for the most part not willful deceptions but errors by honest and best-intended believers. I am repeatedly minded of a painting my Greek Orthodox friend has shown me of a ladder to Heaven, how some are led off the higher rungs by errors such as these.

Memory says Fr. McGrath had suggested I conduct an Epiphany class on this topic; once I might have agreed, but now I'm not sure even Lent is long enough (even without my travel). We will see.

The only thing I can say is that at some point we need to have this class -- if only to have it "in the books" for our (St. Bartholomew's) future. The ease with which we Christians can be led into error is frightening, and this book is at least as relevant today as it might have ever been in the history of Christendom. The Church Fathers struggled with much; we forget that at our peril.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas End - the last reading

It having been the 12th Day of Christmas (now ended -- it's Twelfthnight and the colored Christmas lights outside are turned off), the readings from Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton also come to an end. But not without something to ponder beyond:
The Living Church

The Christian Church in its practical relation to my soul is a living teacher, not a dead one. It not only certainly taught me yesterday, but will almost certainly teach me tomorrow. Once I saw suddenly the meaning of the shape of the cross; some day I may see suddenly the meaning of the shape of the mitre. One fine morning I saw why windows were pointed; some fine morning I may see why priests were shaven... The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting... to see some truth that he has never seen before.


Chesterton is certainly much further down this road and seen more than I, but I concur: "The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting... to see some truth that he has never seen before."

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Where does he find all this stuff?

Fr. McGrath sent out his weekly parish e-mail* 45 minutes ago and I'm once again left marveling. He always opens with a great quote and this week's is no less than previous, to wit:
A patent American article

"As you perhaps know, I haven’t always been a Christian. I didn’t go to religion to make me happy (I always knew a bottle of Port would do that!). If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity. I am certain there must be a patent American article on the market which will suit you far better, but I can’t give you any advice on it." (C. S. Lewis, in Answers to Questions on Christianity, 1944)

In one sense the answer to the title question is obvious, but in another... week after week? Then again, I suppose if my profession were a bit more closely related to the church and less to ancient integrated circuitry (electronics -- something I was looking at a few minutes ago) I might have the answers.

Fr. McGrath doesn't stop there though and this week's closing bit of humor (sans graphic) seems very timely:

Biblical Humor for the Day

Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
A. Noah: he was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.


* "Parish e-mail"? We are in the center of high-tech Microsoft country and a lot of parish communications goes by e-mail, though if time is of the essence we fall back to the old standby of phone-trees, though even there one is as likely to dial up (oops -- call!) a cellphone/mobile/handy as a landline.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Return to Patrick's Point

The first e-mail of the new year was a cheery note from Abby & Jon down in California, announcing this year's diocesan Family Camp. We'll be returning to Patrick's Point State Park on the northern coast of California, site of last year's camp. More information will be coming in the weeks ahead, but they needed to poll the (likely) attendees for the preferred weekend so they can make the reservation tomorrow.