Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Horizons in Desk Top Publishing

You don't remember me, but I sat next to you in English Class. Stay sweet and have a great Summer! Brother Godric

The Liturgy Committee of Parroquia San Cristóbal decided that we will have Morning Prayer with Holy Eucharist on Sundays during Advent. It is an interesting compromise. As you remember, last year Christmas Day was on Sunday. I came up with the idea to celebrate Morning Prayer every Sunday during Advent, with a Festive Choral Eucharist on Christmas Day. We would build up to the arrival of the Christ Child by sharing the Body and Blood of our Lord on the day of his Nativity. I figured that anticipation would build until that wonderful day arrived. No matter how many times I explained my reasons for this liturgical change, people would ask, “why can’t we have Communion?” It had been a long time since Morning Prayer had been the principle Sunday service at St. Christopher’s, and we had several liturgical train-wrecks that Advent, but we finally had Morning Prayer moving smoothly by Christmas. I try to learn from my mistakes, and I certainly wasn’t going to suggest Morning Prayer this year, but the Liturgical Committee wanted Morning Prayer with Eucharist, so that’s what we are doing! I wrote up the order of service for the English-language bulletin and started on the bulletin for the service en español when I remembered that we had two different versions of the LOC; one with Rite I in español and the other with out Rite I. This situation creates problems as the pagination in the books is different, kind of like the various editions of the BCP in the nineteenth century. I went to the room where we keep the prayer books and hymnals, and was shocked to discover that we only had twenty copies of el Libro de Oración Común. We have many of those red, bilingual booklets with Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist, and that’s what we use for la Misa en Domingo. Twenty LOC’s may have cut it six years ago, but the Misa en Español has been growing. So, I spent the majority of my day putting together a booklet with Oración Matutina con la Santa Eucaristía. I have a lot of trouble proof-reading text on the computer; every time I would print the booklet, I’d discover another mistake. These were not typographical errors, these were bizarre mistakes, such as part of the Venite appearing in the Confesión de Pecado. I finally got the job finished by 4:30, giving me half an hour to surf the web before my meeting with the nice folks who will be performing the Every Member Canvas. I see the folks at Titus 1:9 are in an uproar again (Yeah, what’s new?). Sunday should be interesting with this Morning Prayer thang.

Feast of St. Andrew, Protokletos

Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and
brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

All praise, O Lord, for Andrew,
The first to follow you;
He witnessed to his brother,
“This is Messiah true.”
You called him from his fishing
Upon Lake Galilee;
He rose to meet your challenge,
“Leave all and follow me.”

Patron Saint of three countries

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Not this

More like this

Wednesday mornings at 7:30 a.m. means Holy Eucharist with Healing at St. Christopher’s. It’s a holy service with about twenty-five to thirty people taking communion and ten or so coming up for anointing with oil and healing prayer. We are coming to the end of the rainy season here in Panamá, which means it rains a lot for the next month. People try to get out of the rain, animals try to get out of the rain, and insects try to get out of the rain. Only plants really want to be in the rain. Living in Panamá one realises that this planet actually belongs to the insects; they merely tolerate the other species. Celebrating the Eucharist in an insect-heavy nation helps one understand the importance of the pall, and I keep that square on top of the chalice for as long as possible, to avoid our insect brothers and sisters from committing suicidal drownings in the wine. I prefer to use pita (pocket) bread rather than ostias (wafers) for communion; I like the symbology of using a large piece of bread and pita tastes much better than those wafers (I remember the Rev. Dr. Lois Weil referring to them as “fish food”, well, maybe it was a classmate). This morning, as the congregation sang the Offertory Hymn with vigor, and the acolyte handed me the covered bread on its plate, I noticed an ant land on the corporal. I swept it aside (I am not a Jain!) and thought, “maybe I should check this out” I lifted the cloth covering the bread for a peek, and the bread looked as if it was moving! What was going to become the Body of Our Lord was crawling with ants! I moved swiftly to the sacristy (no iguanas this morning) and deposited the bread and plate into the sink and grabbed a paten, found a host, and returned to the altar before the hymn ended. I guess the ants were avoiding the morning rain and discovered breakfast! No extra protein with communion this morning.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

God Loves A Terrier (Yes He Does)

Chompy and Bunny Toy, on the Forbidden Chair
MadPriest said that Señorita Chompita Wiggle Tail and Miss Natasha Leigh de Gamboa were “Gay men’s dogs.” Of course, both dogs would be proud to belong to gay men, but they both belong to heterosexual families. However, Chompy wanted me to remind MadPriest of this beautiful song from “Best In Show:”

God loves a terrier
yes he does
God loves a terrier
that's because
brown sturdy bright and true
they give their hearts to you
God didn't miss a stitch
be it dog or be it bitch
when he made the Norwich merrier
with his cute little 'derrier'
yes God loves a terrier!
Chompy and Natasha realize that they are not Noriwch Terriers, but Terriers nonetheless. Chompy requests that we all change the word "brown" to "black", while Natasha, being multicoloured, really doesn't care.

A Quiet Day

Today was a nice, quiet day. It's Independence from Spain day, so I've had two days off in a row! Yahoo, as the kids say! I didn't do a darn thing, except read "The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity" by Amartya Sen. I am really enjoying it. When I finish it I'll start on "Lesslie Newbigin, Missionary Theologian: A Reader" compiled by Paul Weston (yeah, the first part of that title sounds like a Radio Serial). Happy King Kamehameha and Emma Day, those of you who aren't in Panamá!!

¡Felicidades, Reverenda Kate y su esposo Jim!

Congratulations to Kate and Jim upon the birth of Frances Elizabeth Hinch, born November 25 at 2:58 pm in New York. Y Bienvenidos a la niña Francis.

Monday, November 27, 2006

¡Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow! いたい いたい いたい!

During my Wayward Youth, I spent a few years following the Lord of the Universe and trying to practise the meditation he taught. And sometimes, during meditation, there would be some action in the second chakra. But I NEVER thought of doing this! And, yes, I know that is Japanese in the title and not Thai, but I know how to say "ow" in Nihon-go, but not in Thai.


I just purchased my tickets to fly to San Francisco to attend Epiphany West in January. Usually I am the chaplain at Campamento Intermedio (Jr. High Camp) for the diocese of Panamá, but I’ve been doing that for seven years and decided to take a sabbatical from camp. I will be at camp next year.

The name of the conference is Re-visioning Anglicanism - Where do we go from here? which is an important subject, especially with all that is happening in TEC right now. In fact, there is a good conversation going on at Father Jake’s right now about the diocese of San Joaquin.

I realize that most of the readers here come for the photos of cute mammals, but I gotta ask: is anyone else planning to be at Epiphany West?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

¿What the ....?

Our friend and music and dog enthusiast MadPriest over at Of course, I could be wrong...: Blog-A-Dog claims that Chompy and Natasha are gay men's dogs! Well, they do have Drag Queen names, but if you really want to see a gay man's dog, go here.
Okay, it is true that Chompy and Natasha like to dress up and lip-synch to ABBA, but they do the best version of "Dancing Queen" in all of Central America!!

¡Cute Scruffy Doggy War!

Señorita Chompita Wiggletail

Miss Natasha Leigh de Gamboa

Mona and I know deep in our hearts that Señorita Chompita Wiggletail is the Cutest Dog in All the Americas. This is because she has a very scruffy face and the cutest personality of any dog anywhere. But now she has some competition: her niece, Miss Natasha Leigh de Gamboa (daughter of Chompy’s sister, Miss Viola) has a scruffy face and a pretty cute personality, too. Actually, Miss Natasha is more of a devil dog (just ask Bert!) while Chompy is sweet and personable. You’ll have to take my word for it. But at least you can see photos of the cute scruffy dogs of Panamá. Vote for your favorite in the Comments! No, I don't want to see pictures of your dog or cat; this battle is between these two!

Las Iglesias de San Simón y San Cristóbal

Photos by the Lovely Mona

Last night Mona and I drove out to the Former Canal Zone to the little town of Gamboa. Gamboa is the headquarters of the Dredging Division of the Autoridad del Canal de Panamá. Many years ago it was a thriving community, but now it is more like a ghost town. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has offices there, and many people associated with STRI live in Gamboa. Iglesia San Simón, or St. Simon’s Church has been a part of Gamboa since 1949. It is a small congregation, but a wonderful, faithful, loving congregation. When Mona and I first came to Panamá, I served at St. Simon’s and San Juan in Villa Cáceres. We are still very much a part of St. Simon’s and I serve there whenever their Priest-in-Charge, Revdo. Nelson Edwards, is away.

This morning we had a small crowd at la Misa en Español. Tuesday is Independence from Spain Day and many parades take place today, so most of the youth were out marching and DIDN’T COME TO CHURCH and DIDN’T GET A PERMISSION SLIP FROM PADRE. But our little band played and we were tight! We did a super smooth version of “El Señor Nos Ama Hoy” this morning. That’s Profesor Bernardo Murray on organ, Señor Ricardo Staples on drums, and el Reverendo Padre Mickey on bass (Hmmm, Bernardo and Ricardo; maybe I should adopt the stage name of Micardo). Only three members of the choir showed up this morning; Mona got a great shot of them! Yeah, that’s a 1961 Gibson EB-0 short gauge

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's Saturday!

It’s Saturday, so Mona and I were at the church for the Youth Choir rehearsal, but only two kids showed up. We ran them through their vocal warm-ups and ear training lessons, and rehearsed the hymns for tomorrow. While we were rehearsing, members of the Episcopal Church Women were decorating the church for the United Thank Offering in-gathering tomorrow. Lots of blue and white!

Well, I finally finished my Christ the King sermon yesterday, but it really got me thinking about the passage from Daniel. I do understand why this edited version of the passage would be selected for Christ the King Sunday, but it bothers me somewhat because I think that it’s disingenuous to identify the “one like a human being” with Jesus. It looks like a bit of twisting the scripture to fit one’s purposes, in my opinion. If one continues to read the passage one learns that Daniel, who was dismayed by the vision and whose spirit was troubled within him, approached one of the attendants of the court and requested an interpretation. He is told that the four beasts represent four kingdoms (he sure had a lot of beasts in his visions), but what interested me (but did not interest Daniel; he was more into the beasts and horns) was that “the one like a human being” is no longer a single person in the interpretation, but becomes “the holy ones of the Most High.” It is the holy ones of the Most High who will receive the kingly power and retain possession of it always, for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:18) In verse 27 we read: “The kingly power, sovereignty, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. Their kingly power will last for ever, and every realm will serve and obey them.” So the “one like a human being” who comes before the Ancient One isn’t the Messiah, the Christ, but a people, the faithful of Israel, I suppose. Maybe someone with an Anchor Bible Commentary can ‘splain this to me.

Mona and I are off to Gamboa; I’m taking the services at St. Simon’s tonight and next week. Maybe we’ll takes some photographs.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Random Ten

Yeah, I AM procrastinating. I just can't get that Christ the King sermon started. Today's Random Ten is all over the place!
1. The Voyer of Utter Destruction - David Bowie
2. Killer Joe (Right Cross) - The Tommy Chase Quartet
3. Concerto for strings and organ in D Major, RV124 - Musici di San Marco
4. Why Don't We Do It In The Road? - The Beatles
5. Get In The Swing - Sparks
6. I Hate Alternative Rock - Bob Mould
7. Roller Coaster - The 13th Floor Elevators Live
8. Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit - Sonic Youth
9. You And Whose Army? - Radiohead
10. Sientamientos - Manuel de Jesús
Don't do anything with it, Leonardo! And as always, Friday Random 10 is for entertainment purposes only. Please, no wagering!

A Quiet Friday Morning

Close shot of the altar

From a few pews back

View from behind the altar
It's a quiet Friday morning and I decided to test the new camera with a few photos of Parroquia San Cristóbal. I totally forgot to take any photos of our wonderful Thanksgiving Day celebration at La Rectoría yesterday as I was so busy being a gracious host!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Another Way to Get Your Iron

Photo from Cute Overload, of course!

Getting Down to My Core

Mona and I were talking tonight after everyone left, and you know what album we decided was our real, deep, down influence? That's right, man. The Doodletown Pipers are God, Man!! We both have those suits, dude. They are in my macaronis, warming their feets.

Not everyone is eating turkey today!

From Cute Overload

Happy Thanksgiving

I've got heavy kitchen duty today (never did find the poultry seasoning; I'll make my own) so I won't be posting much, if at all. But I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who is celebrating the holiday. When we lived in the U.S., we would drive down to Fresno on Thanksgivng Day as everyone was home watching the Macy Parade and the freeways were clear. We would have Thanksgiving dinner with Mona's family, and the next day our tradition was to go see a film. We always returned to San José or Berkeley on Saturday as I always had ecclesiastical duties of some sort. Here in Panamá we have a celebration with our extended family. I'll try to post some fótos tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Even More! (Influences Part III)

'splains a lot, eh? I'm sure that some of these selections will repulse some folks, but I'm not backing down! These were all great influences on me!! But this is not a complete list by any means. We gots years to go through this stuff!

More Covers (Influences Part II)

A few more. . .


I was thinking about the response to the 100 All-Time Album post, and I think that perhaps they (Time magazine) were trying to list Most Influential Albums. They still missed a lot, but I think that some of our responses had to do more with albums and artists we love more than what was influential. I was thinking about albums which were influential in the way I listened to or reacted to or even were influential in the way I wrote and played pop music. The album covers pictured are all records (I have each one of these on vinyl and cd) which really influenced me in the ways listed above. Please add your lists in the comments!

Padre Mickey, (Not Much of a) Film Critic

I don’t see too many films, but now that we live in Parque Lefevre we have a movie theatre within walking distance, as well as a Blockbuster. It only costs about $3.00 per person at the theatre, but they rarely have anything I want to see. The Blockbuster carries the films which are popular, yet will carry something we really want to see on occasion. Blockbuster recently decided to get rid of their videotapes and stock DVDs exclusively, and so they were selling their stock. We bought a lot of movies using “How bad can it be for $.99?”as our standard. So now we have a lot of video tapes with spanish subtitles, but wadda ya want for $.99?!?

Sunday we rented three films at the Blockbuster: “El Cadáver del la Novia de Tim Burton”, “V de Venganza”, and “The Producers” (the musical version, not the classic Mel Brooks version). I didn’t think much of the Corpse Bride; if this film had never been made it would have made no difference in my life. Actually, the fact that it was made has made no difference in my life, except for an hour and some odd minutes that I could have been doing something else. I fell asleep midway through V is for Vengeance, so I can safely say that I wasn’t too impressed with it, either. I loved the Producers! It was hilarious! Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder’s original portrayals tended to haunt Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick’s performances at first, but they eventually won me over. The new songs were pretty good, too, although nothing in that film can surpass “Springtime for Hitler.” So it made up for the other two films.

I have waited all (Northern Hemisphere) Summer for “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna” to finally show up in Panamá, and we bought our copy right away. KANK is the latest film by Karan Johar, writer and director of “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,” “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...” and “Kal Ho Naa Ho.” It was worth the wait; it is the best film Karan Johar has done at this time. He learns so much with each film, and each film is better than the one before, but I was really impressed with KANK. The story was great, the cinematography was beautiful, and Shahrukh Kahn, Rani Mukherji, Abhishek Bachchan, and Preity Zinta all gave fine performances. I’m not a big fan of Preity, but she was excellent in this. For some reason I missed Kajol’s cameo, so I’m gonna watch it again this weekend. The only disappointment were the songs; there wasn’t anything that sticks in your head like “Yeh Ladka Hai Allah” or “Maahi Ve.” I give it an 8 out of 10.

What films have you enjoyed lately? The Borat film probably won’t come to Panamá, so I hope it’s still playing when I am in the States in January.

About a Four on the Aborrido Scale

My Biggest Fan!
It’s been a busy day. Monday Mona and I broke down and purchased a digital camera, as we are tired of depending upon others for photos of church activities, the darling antics of Señorita Chompita Wiggletail, the Cutest Dog in All the Americas, and Sacristy Iguanas. I bought a camera of the brand which Shakira has been pushing, and it is a very nice, easy-to-use camera (¡Gracias, Shakira!)

Yesterday I wrote a sermon about St. Cecilia, to be used this morning. I tried to print it but was out of ink. So, I emailed so that I could print it at home. Got home rather late, but remembered to print the sermon and put it in a folder and placed it on the table for ready access in the morning. I also put the new camera with the folder, as I wanted to take some photos of the church and my visit to the Cordoba Home. I didn’t sleep well as it rained all night with much force, and a hard rain against a zinc roof tends to be a bit noisy. So I wasn’t at my best this morning, and was lucky to get out the door with my pants on. Once I arrived at the church (Holy Eucharist with Healing at 7:30 am) I realized that I had left the camera and my sermon at home. It was still raining and I didn’t want to go home, so I printed the sermon in a lovely shade of blue (I suppose I could have printed it in red, St. Cecilia being a martyr and all, but I am a bit over 40 and can’t see too well). After the Mass, the Ladies and I visited Mr. Wells in the hospital and then had a lovely time at the Cordoba Home (a rest home) with the folks there, sharing Communion and anointing with oil and praying and singing. Once I returned to the church, I started reading and thinking about that Christ the King sermon.

Stopped at the super market on the way home to purchase items for tomorrow’s celebration. We will have twenty people at the house tomorrow (including Mona and I)! Had to buy an enormous turkey (24.6 lbs!) as there was nothing in the 18 to 20 lbs. range. At least I’ll have turkey sandwiches for a few days. Couldn’t find any poultry seasoning. Came home, checked my spice rack, none there, either. Mona just returned from hunting for the elusive poultry seasoning, and she was unsuccessful, too. Now I will spend hours surfing the internet, seeking possible poultry seasoning recipes.
I think that this wins the award for My Most Boring Post Evah! I could post a cute mammal photo, but I’m gonna go for the cheap joke instead.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Totally Insufficient Dowery

My friend Raju (we've been friends since the second grade!) sent me the following link:
  • Indian Xmas Carol

  • Yeah, I know, it's not even Advent yet, but I think you'll enjoy this.
    Mona and I were at Albrook Mall (yes, we have Shopping Malls in Panamá now) and all the Xmas decorations are up! Disgusting!

    Can You Believe This?

    Not on the list!

  • All-Time 100 Albums

  • There is a reason magazines such as Time should not produce such lists: if the list wasn't assembled by MadPriest and Padre Mickey, it will be full of errors, TERRIBLE errors. (What's the Story) Morning Glory by Oasis as one of the all-time albums of the 1990's? PUHLEEZE!!! or as we say here ¡¡PORFAVOR!!

    Please belittle their choices here in our comments. Thank You!

    Monday, November 20, 2006


    It appears that our new Presiding Bishop is not one to stand by and watch the schismatic bishops continue to make their threats without response. She has decided to say "Hold on there, boys. Just what do you think you are doing?!?" Over at Kendall's place heads are spinning and spewing lime yogurt like crazy!! They can't believe that she would DARE to suggest that ol' +John David is doing anything wrong. You may read her letter over at
  • Father Jake’s Place
  • Sunday, November 19, 2006

    Kitties and Babies

    photo by Chris Mobley

    As my latest entry in the Cutest Photographs in an Episcopalian Blog competition, I offer the above photo of my darling granddaughter, Evelyn Sarah Mobley, daughter of Tara Mobley (who comments here on occasion), in an encounter with the Family Pet. I can’t remember the name of the cat; I guess I am a bad abuelo. (I have some other photos with that strange toy mariposa in them, and I must say, that toy's face is just a bit troubling). Kitties and Babies, Bunnies and Iguanas, and, coming soon, Darling Puppies!

    The past two days have been very busy. Much of yesterday was spent preparing for today’s activity: the parish Harvest Thanksgiving Service and Thanksgiving Luncheon. When we first arrived at the church, there was a small crisis since no one had signed Official Papers at Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal, the school associated with our parish, and the site of today’s Thanksgiving Luncheon. Since no Official Papers had been signed, there was a small dispute as to whether we could hold the event there. Fortunately, the Directora of the school appeared and we apologised and straightened things out. We also supplied the necessary chairs for the event. Mona and I had rehearsal with the Coro de Jovenes, and then we went grocery shopping. Once we returned home, I invested several hours in roasting a turkey (one of five donated for the luncheon by various parishioners). Senorita Chompita Wiggletail, the Cutest Dog in All the Americas was very interested in the turkey roasting, in fact, she kept watch in the kitchen throughout the evening. She was very disappointed when I carved the bird and all the meat went into the refrigerator without any for her bowl! Well, actually, a little bit went into her bowl, but not as much as she believes is her due. She’ll just have to wait until Thursday.

    Our Harvest Thanksgiving Service was wonderful. The Altar Guild decorated the church with fresh vegetables and fruits, with a beautiful display in front of the altar. Padre Cáceres, assisting priest of the parish, was the preacher and did a wonderful job, as always. It was very nice to have both the Adult Choir and the Coro de Jovenes singing together. It was a bilingual service, and I am very proud of the fact that our congregation is able to move between english and español in a very smooth manner without the awkwardness which is so often a part of bilingual liturgies. We had many visitors this morning, including four women with the organization Heart to Heart from New York City. After the Mass we all walked across the street to IESC and had a wonderful luncheon with turkey, chicken, ham, rice and beans, several salads, platinos de tentación, and pumpkin pie and cakes for dessert. We must have had two hundred fifty people enjoying lunch and fellowship. I should have some photos by late tomorrow.

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    For Leonardo Ricardo

    heh, heh, I feels like someone is starin' at the back of mah haid, heh, heh.
    "The East is Red."

    ¡Invisible Bike!

    "God's still up there!"

    And this is what God sees: a hole in the ozone over Antarctica
    Senator James Inhofe, Republican and contender for the title of "Most Stupid Guy in Oklahoma," appeared on Fox and Friends this morning and argued that the current wave of unprecedented warming is due to “natural changes.” “God’s still up there,” Inhofe said, and to the extent there is warming going on, it is “due to the sun.” He added, “George Soros, the Hollywood elitists, the far left environmentalists on the committee that I chair — all of them want us to believe the science is settled and it’s not.” Well, at least he's on his way out!

    Hey, look! I think I see Luiz waving there in Río!

    Wadda Guy!

    So, I see they finally got the Great Chicken Hawk to Vietnam, only forty years later!
    "We'll succeed, unless we quit!" he said! I love seeing Uncle Ho watching over the Dim Son.

    After reaching out to the Democrats post "thumpin,'" I see he has decided to put the same sorry collection of crazy, rabid, reactionaries up for confirmation as judges. What exactly is he up to, and what exactly does he think is going on?

    Well, I know that I'll be staying in Panamá for at least two more years!

    Funds for this post are provided by the Sandinista Party of California, the Rev. M.G. Dresbach, sole member. We now return to our regular programming.

    Friday Random Ten

    I decided to do the Random 10 again this week. Last time Madpriest was pleasantly amused, but the rest of you were silent. Seems iguanas and bunnies are more popular than pop music around here. But this IS Padre Mickey's DANCE PARTY fer Chrissakes! So, here we go. . . open the iTunes. . . Party Shuffle. . . push "shuffle" button. . . Today's list!

    1. Roll Over And Die; Bob Mould
    2. Liar; Sex Pistols
    3. The Needle and the Damage Done; Neil Young
    4. While Away; Madder Rose
    5. I Have Not Been To Oxford Town; David Bowie
    6. American Triangle; Elton John
    7. Cold Water; Tom Waits
    8. Harmony In My Head; Buzzcocks
    9. Janie Jones; The Clash
    10. Move On Up A Little Higher; Mahalia Jackson
    And Bonus Track: 11. Reverberation; 13th Floor Elevator

    Hmmm, we seem to be a little punky today, and no Latin Pop! Ya push da button and ya takes yer chances!

    Friday Random 10 is for entertainment purposes only. Please, no wagering!

    Thursday, November 16, 2006


    It looks like the split is coming and the Orthodox, so-called, are going full speed ahead. After reading posts at Fr. Jake’s, Thinking Anglicans, and the Admiral of Morality, I decided it was best for my blood pressure if I simply stayed away from Kendall’s place. I’m really torn; if the Orthodox, so-called, are so determined to leave, I can’t help but think “don’t let the red door hit you in the butt on your way out,” but the truth is that I really don’t want them to leave. I want to convince them that we can all live together in one church. On the other hand, do I really want people around who think I’m some terrible person because I believe that God loves and works through all people, male or female, gay or straight? Do I really want to be around people who limit the Holy Spirit and her/his work?

    So, will the Most Blessed Bishops of the Global South grab up San Joaquin and the others? Or will TEC declare the Troublesome Dioceses abandoned and appoint new bishops to hold down the fort until elections can be held? Stay tuned for more exciting episodes of Ecclesiastical Kitty Kung-fu Fighting!!
    I know you guys are suckers for animal photos!

    What the Admiral said!

  • El Almirante dice

  • I am very sorry to see the Diocese of San Joaquin taking such actions, but I gotsta agree wit el Almirante.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Marcharemos con los bastones, marcharemos con los bastones

    In the Episcopal Church in Panamá, we like to have programs on Sunday afternoons. Different churches hold programs at different times of year, but November is very busy with these events. Most of them are held at the Bishop Clarence W. Hayes Gymnatorium at Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal, the school which was started at my parish 45 years ago. Two Sundays ago my parish, San Cristóbal, held a program entitled “Cumpliaños Amores¨(Birthdays of Love). Last Sunday, Iglesia San Albano en Paraíso held their annual Afternoon Tea and Show. I was unable to attend, but they held a great show, Un Desfile de Bastones (A Parade of Canes). Since so many of our parishioner are Tercer Edad (Senior Citizens) and now use a third leg to help them get around, I think this was a great show!
    Photos by Reverendo Nelson Edwards

    The World’s Cutest Bun-bun gives us all the Big Raspberry Of Love

    Well, I apologise for not posting for the past few days, but some time life interferes with one’s best laid plans. Before I started this blog, I used to feel a bit cheated if certain bloggers didn’t post something everyday. Now I wonder, “How do they do it?” Madpriest manages to post several posts a day, and they are all witty and wonderful and worth reading. I’ve noticed that there are a few of you who check this site several times a day, so I feel as if I have let you down by not posting. But, stuff happens, ya know? It is November in Panamá, the rainiest month of the year, and, even though it rains almost nine months of the year, the telephone lines tend to go out during hard rains. And when the telephone line is out, the DSL line is out. So that explains Monday. Yesterday I spent the day with the clergy of the Diocese of Panamá at Clericus. I love my colleagues, but I hate sitting in meetings, and five hour meetings in español really put my Christian Love to the test. I don’t even like hour and a half meetings in english, so this stuff really stretches my tolerance. It seems to me that sometimes it takes a lot longer to say something in español than it does in english. And when you have a bunch of priests together, especially Central American priests, there is a lot of repetition. Y Padre Mickey no se gusta mucho repetición en todas idiomas. So, when I finally got home (through a torrential rain with thunder and lightening) late yesterday afternoon, I was in no mood to post Cute Stories About Sacerdotal Activities Here In Panamá.

    On Wednesday we have our Holy Eucharist with Healing service. I usually chose one of the saints whose feasts appear during the week and talk about them. Today is the feast of Albert the Great, Bishop of Ratisbon and Friar, but since he’s a saint from the Middle Ages, I spoke about Hild of Whitby, because she’s from the era in which I have an interest (50 through 800 CE) and she’s a woman AND a Celt, so she wins. After Communion, people come up for Anointing with Oil and Laying on of Hands. It is really a very holy and wonderful time in the service. After the service and my breakfast, I go to visit the Sick and Shut-in with three ladies of the Visitation Committee. Today we visited the Katalina Brown Home, a care home supported by the British Aid Society. Visits like this remind me why I am blessed to be a priest. We sang and prayed and shared the Reserved Sacrament and it was beautifully intimate and holy. I spent the rest of the day working on our Bilingual Thanksgiving Service for Sunday. For the past three years we gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing and have our Harvest Thanksgiving Service (it’s always Harvest Time in Panamá!) and then go across the street to Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal (the school started at our parish by the Rev. Clarence W. Hayes, Rector of St. Christopher’s at the time and later Bishop of the Diocese of Panamá) and have our parish family Thanksgiving Dinner. We have a great time! I will roast a turkey as I have for the past three years. I love to roast poultry. And I get to do it again on Thanksgiving Day when our extended Panamanian Family gathers at La Rectoría for our Thanksgiving Dinner as we have for the past seven years.

    The cute bun-bun above represents my feelings about posting every day.

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Golden Idol

    Last night Mona and I attended the opening night of a Bible Prophecy seminar which is being held by the Seventh-day Adventist church here in Panamá. The speaker is the evangelist Mark Finley. We were invited to attend by the Elder of the SDA church around the corner from our parish. It was an interesting evening with some great singing. I am not a fan of Bible Prophecy; my years at Okinawa Christian School and time in the Assemblies of God church, where we were bombarded and terrorized into obedience with Bible Prophecy and the imminent return of Christ, has left me skeptical of such teachings. Mr. Finley talked about Nebuchadnezzer’s dream of the golden-headed image (from the book of Daniel). Since I grew up hearing this stuff I was simply listening, until he claimed that Isaiah predicted the actions of Cyrus 150 years before they happened. Geez, I couldn’t believe that Mr. Finley has not heard of Second Isaiah! So, of course, the rest of the evening was spent playing “Spot the Errors.” While I could of done without the bible prophecy lecture, I did enjoy the music and our host were so very gracious to the two of us. I don’t think I will be attending the rest of the seminar.

    The Closet Kills

    I’ve been thinking about this Ted Haggard thang, and it really makes me sad. I’m happy to see a right-wing, homophobic nut case revealed as a hypocrite; geez, who doesn’t love that, but I feel bad for his wife and children and for his church. I have trouble believing that his wife had no inkling at all that he was gay (but I could be wrong; maybe he was an excellent deceiver), and I wonder what kinds of secrets the kids had to keep in that family, which, in my opinion, is just terrible. I think it was just awful that he spoke about this stuff with a reporter while his children were in the car; sheesh, what must they think of their father!

    I wonder how many people in his church have had their faith damaged by his betrayal. I understand his betrayal to be his denouncing of homosexuals while having sex with a homosexual prostitute, and his buying and taking drugs. How could he possible think he could get away with this? I am always troubled by ministers who are elevated by their flocks and the media and spend so much time condemning others; they always seem to fall so far. I was fortunate that I was a missionary kid and saw so much stuff behind the scenes that I tend to be realistic about the demons which can torture clergy. As a result, I think that clergy have to be extra careful about temptation, and once one thinks they are above everything and can take drugs and boink everything in sight, well, it’s time to resign!!!

    I am troubled that he is being “ministered” to by people who believe that he chose to be gay. It’s a bit of cliché to say that Society Is To Blame, but, honestly, it was that damn closet which he was forced into by the Evangelical Christian society of which he is a part that was the source of so much of this pain. I truly believe that the closet kills, and that it is unhealthy for everyone when a person must hide who they are. If Ted Haggard had been able to acknowledge the fact that he was gay, he wouldn’t have had to be in the closet; he wouldn’t have married that woman and had children with her and all of them would have been spared this pain. I don’t know what to think about his meth habit; that drug is one of which has held no attraction to me. When I lived in the United States, I lived in areas which were open to gays, areas in which it was relatively easy to be open about one’s sexuality; areas where one could leave the closet with out too much pain and anxiety. But Ted Haggard is part of a community in which homosexuality is a sin and a weakness and total failure of self control, so of course he couldn’t admit to his sexuality without losing everything. From what I have observed, it isn't easy to be openly gay here in Panamá, either, and I really want to see this situation change all over the world. I believe that in the Reign of God people will be able to be honest about their sexuality and that no one will be forced into the closet. The closet kills, and I hope that Ted Haggard can come to terms with who he is, that he will be able to seek forgiveness from his family and flock, and that everyone involved in this mess can find reconciliation with God.

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Peer Pressure

    All the cool blogs have Friday Cat blogging or Friday Orchid blogging, and super cool blogs like TBogg have things like Friday Random Ten. And, man, do I wants ta be a cool blog! The peer pressure is intense!!! I don't have a cat, heck, I don't even have a camera or I could show photos of Chompita, the Cutest Dog in All the Americas, and I don't have an ipod, but I do have iTunes, so I decided to do my own Random 10. I went to the Party Shuffle, hit "shuffle" and here is the first ten:
    1. "Be With You" Neil Young
    2. "Malo" Bebe
    3. "Ranking Full Stop" The Beat
    4. "Abbeville (Come, Holy Spirt, Come)" Anonymous 4
    5. "The Statue Got Me High" They Might Be Giants
    6. "The Great Pretender" Brian Eno
    7. "Back From Somewhere" Hüsker Dü
    8. "Throwing My Baby Out With The Bath Water" Tenpole Tudor
    9. "Ojos Así" Shakira
    10. "Vibrate" Outkast
    Extra Bonus Song: 11. "The House Where Nobody Lives" Tom Waits

    Sheesh! What does this prove, besides the fact that my music collection is ancient? I mean, only three songs are from this century! Well, it is almost eclectic.

    Well, I think I gotta spend some time on a new post.

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Excitement in the Sacristy

    Sacristy Rat, estilo Panameño
    Parroquia San Cristóbal is close to Jardin la Paz, the local cemetery, so we get a lot of funerals. I have presided over twenty funerals so far his year, but most of the funerals are not for members of this congregation. Today we had a funeral for the aunt of a parishioner. I went into the sacristy to pour some incense into the boat. As I reached for the boat, I heard a scraping noise just above my head. I looked up and there were two young, green iguanas. One was holding on to the burglar bar with all its might, while the other was looking at me. I said, "¡Mira! ¡Iguanas!" which caused the observant iguana to jump on to the top of the cupboard and hide behind a bag of old candles. The acolyte hollered and shot out of the sacristy, slamming the door and running off to find the Sexton to rid the sacristy of our reptile invaders. I decided to keep an eye on them and remained in the sacristy. One iguana continued to hang on to the bar for dear life while the second dashed about the top of the cupboard, seeking a better hiding place. Finally, the Sexton came in with some poison. I told him that there would be no poisoning of iguanas in this sacristy and suggested he take them out of the building. "I'm not carrying them!" he answered, so I asked him to chase them out. I went to my office to vest, as the sacristy was just a wee bit too busy for my tastes. Vested, I returned to the sacristy, where the Sexton and Junior Warden were moving furniture in an attempt to find The Observant Iguana, as The Clinging Iguana had been evicted. An hour and a half later, as the hearse and the Funeral Procession headed to Jardin de Paz I returned to the sacristy and asked the Sexton if our friend had been evacuated yet. It's two hours later and our friend is still missing. Our Iguana seems to have found a fine hiding place! I wonder if it will still be there Sunday morning. . .

    I See You!

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