Sunday, June 24, 2007

This Morning at Paroquia San Cristóbal and We're Off!

This morning the Third Grade class of Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal and their parents attended la Misa a las 10:30a.m. Needless to say, it was a very noisy service! Right after the Peace yet before the Eucharist, the entire class came up to sing some songs. It was very cute, but I was worried for the safety of my bass guitar. Ricardo Staples kept moving it and moving it and more children would appear so he'd move it again! Here's a photo of all the kids singing.

Everyone of those children, plus their siblings, came up for blessings during Communion. These are photos of Padre Cáceres and I blessing all the little children.

The Lovely Mona, Señorita Chompita Wiggletail and I are loading up the car and heading to the beach for about twelve days. We are going to visit the beach pictured below, but that's not where we'll be the entire time.
The comments will be turned off.
We won't have internet access, which is good and bad. It's good and bad because I won't know what terrible things are going on in the WWAC while I'm away, which is good, and it's bad because I won't be able to assemble the Dance Party Players of Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging to mock them. It's also bad because I won't be able to post on Irenaeus' feast day, but, actually, that may be good for all of you. Oh well, next year!

¡Hasta luego!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Yipee Ki Yay!

Who is this lil' buckeroo?

UPDATE Well, since yer all doing Summer time Saturday things or worse, and are too chicken to guess, Ima gonna tell you who it is. It is the Official Artist of the Dance Party, the one and only Leonardo Ricardo, as a darling little boy. With some horse who is probably in Horsey Heaven by now.

D'oh! I've Been Tagged!

St. Pat has tagged me in the latest meme. I've learned my lesson! I guess I have to give up my double standard in which I tag folks but don't want to be tagged. The rules are as follows:

1. Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
2. Those tagged will tag 5 people.
3. Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what's being posted.

Even though I am a musician, I don't use the word "dig" unless I am discussing moving dirt or looking for something on my desk, in which case I say "archaeological dig." Does St. Pat mean "dig" in the sense of what I "like" about Jesus, or in the sense of what I "understand" about Jesus? I understand that "dig" has both meanings in hipster parlance. Oh, well, I'll give this a try.

1. Jesus, the Logos, became human and lived among us.

2. He didn't turn away the outcast and loved them as much as he loved the decent, reputable folks, maybe even more.

3. His obedience to his Father brought us eternal life.

4. He wasn't vegetarian a fussy eater.

5. He didn't worry about his reputation and spent time with winebibbers and the like.

I'm not tagging anyone as the Lovely Mona, Señorita Chompita Wiggletail, and maybe even The Boys (oh yeah, I'm going too!) are going on vacation for about twelve days, and we won't have internet access. I'll be turning off the comments tomorrow afternoon, 'cuz I don't want that guy from White Plains to filthy-up the place while we're gone. Read all them blogs on the blogroll over on the right-hand side of this page, except Wounded Bird, as Grandmére Mimi is on vacation, too (It's what all the coooool kids are doing!).

Friday, June 22, 2007

An Important Message From The True, Really, I Mean It, Church™

We, the Bishops of The Real Live Orthodox Episcopal Anglican Protestant Catholic Pentecostal Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian Church of All the Americas and Actually the Entire Globe; Yeah, that's Right, We Include the Global South, the Global North AND the Global Center, So Where Else Ya Gonna Go? also known as the RLOEAPCPEFCCAAAEGYRWIGSGNAGCSWEYGG or The True, Really, I Mean It, Church™, having learned of the plan of the Anglican Church of Uganda to consecrate a Missionary Bishop to serve in the state of Virginia in the United States of America, have but one response: "We see your Missionary Bishop and raise you three Missionary Bishops." Eh-oh! Guess who's going to Virginia, Colorado, Uganda, and Nigeria? Again, again!!

Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging

Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito: We're going on vacation! We're getting away from it all! Let's make sure we have what we need! Shriek shriek!!

We'll need books to read in the pool.

We'll need games to play.

We'll need a camera.

We'll need sunblock and insect repellant

We'll need extra protection from the sun

Food of course, and something to drink

We'll need some films to watch

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy: Wait a minute. Why didn't anyone tell me about this?
Gallito Mescalito: ¿Shriek? ¡Shriek!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank: You're not invited, that's why.

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy:Waddya mean? Why didn't ya invite me?

Red Mr. Peanut Bank: Because you're part of the "all" we're getting away from!
Gallito Mescalito:¡¡Shriiieeeeekkkkk!!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy: Sheesh!
Trombone in background: Wahw wahw wahw waaahhw

Friday Random Ten

1. Maltrato Freddy Y Sus Afro Latinos
2. Drink! They Might Be Giants
3. Pony Tom Waits
4. Walk On By The Stranglers
5. Your Ya Ya Is Gone Tren-Teens
6. (Nothing But) Flowers Talking Heads
7. Little Bitch The Specials
8. It's An Illusion Johnny Clegg & Savuka
9. Vergine sol'al mondo senza esempio (Palestrina) The Hillard Ensemble
10. Karma Police Radiohead

After the first three selections, I was hoping that we would have nothing but single-word titles, but it didn't work out that way.

I love the over-driven bass on "Walk On By", a version which is almost psychedelic.

Feast of St. Alban, First Martyr of Britain

As usual, we don't really know very much about Alban, and there is some disagreement between sources about what we do know. Some believe that Alban was a Roman born in England, while others believe that he was a Roman soldier stationed in England. He lived in Verulamium, a town which is now called St. Alban's, in Hertfordshire, which is about twenty miles northeast of London. He was a pagan, and probably not really aware of Christianity. However, a persecution of Christians in Briton had broken out. Tradition, and the Venerable Bede, teach that is was the Diocletian persecution of the year 305, but now scholars believe that this was the persecution during the reign of Septimus Severus, around the year 209.

One day during the persecution, a Christian priest who was fleeing from his persecutors sought refuge at Alban's house. Alban sheltered him for several days. He heard the priest's story and was moved by his humility and piety. Alban was so influenced by the priest's prayers and teaching that he became a Christian and was baptized by the priest. A few days later the army discovered the priest at Alban's house. They came to take the priest away, but Alban changed clothing with the priest so that the priest could escape, and Alban was brought before the judge. (According to tradition, the priest met his martyrdom a few days later when he was captured and stoned to death). The Christians of those days believed that the Roman gods were actually demons, so the Venerable Bede's account of the martyrdom of Alban has the judge "offering sacrifice to devils," which means that he was offering incense to the Roman gods and most probably to the emperor. When the judge saw Alban, he was furious that Alban, a Roman, would put himself in such danger by trading places with a priest. He ordered the soldiers to drag Alban before the altar and said, "Since you have chosen to conceal a sacrilegious rebel rather than surrender him to my soldiers to pay the well-deserved penalty for his blasphemy against our gods, you shall undergo all the torture due to him if you dare to abandon the practice of our religion!" But Alban, who now freely confessed himself a Christian before the judge and everyone present refused to obey this order. The judge demanded, "What is your family and race?" Alban answered, "How does my family concern you? If you wish to know the truth about my religion, know that I am a Christian and carry out Christian rites." The judge demanded to know his name. He answered the judge: "My parents named me Alban, and I worship and adore the living and true God who created all things." This really angered the judge, who said, "If you want to enjoy eternal life, sacrifice at once to the great gods." Alban responded, "You are offering these sacrifices to devils who cannot help their supplicants, nor answer their prayers and vows. On the contrary, whosoever offers sacrifice to idols is doomed to the pains of hell." This response, of course, did not help matters at all. The judge ordered Alban to be flogged, but when he noticed that no torture would break Alban or make him renounce Christ, the judge ordered Alban's immediate decapitation. Alban's execution was to take place on a hill top. Many people came out to witness the execution, in fact, there were so many people there that the soldiers and Alban could not get across the bridge since all the people filled the bridge and prevented their passing. Alban walked up to the banks of the river, and, since he wanted to get this all over with and have a speedy martyrdom, he raised his eyes to heaven and said a prayer. The water in the river dried up and they were able to walk on dry land. When the executioner saw this miracle, he was so moved that he ran to meet Alban at the place of execution. He threw down his sword and fell at Alban's feet, begging that he might be thought worthy to die with the martyr if he could not die in his place. The other executioners were unsure of what to do; if they didn't follow through with their duty, they, too, would be executed, but they were reluctant to pick up the sword. Alban continued to the top of the hill, where, being thirsty, he asked God for some water. Immediately a spring bubbled up at his feet, a sign to all present that it was the martyr's prayer that dried up the river and now produced a perennial spring. At the same time, the river began to flow again. Every one was standing about, marveling at the miracles, when one of the other executioners picked up the sword and struck the fatal blow and beheaded Alban. According to Bede, "the man whose impious hands struck off that pious head was not permitted to boast of his deed, for as the martyr's head fell, the executioner's eyes dropped out on the ground." Eeww! Bede also writes: "The soldier who had been moved by divine intuition to refuse to slay God's confessor was beheaded at the same time as Alban. And although he had not received the purification of baptism, there was no doubt that he was cleansed by the shedding of his own blood, and rendered fit to enter the kingdom of heaven. Astonished by these many strange miracles the judge called a halt to the persecution, and whereas he had formerly fought to crush devotion to Christ, he now began to honor the death of his saints." Bede says that a church worthy of Alban's martyrdom was built on the spot and that many sick folks were healed there and that frequent miracles occur there. Since Alban was martyred on a hill, churches which bear his name are located on hills, just like San Albano in Paraíso.

Alban was only a Christian for a few days but he felt so strongly about his devotion to Christ that he was willing to suffer death on Christ's behalf. He was willing to take the place of the priest and face the tortures and punishments reserved for the Christians of that time. His witness brought about the conversion of both his executioner and the judge who sentenced him to death. His witness most probably helped spread Christianity throughout Britain and the British Isles. His sacrifice reminds me of the sacrifice of Bernard Mizeki, the martyr of Zimbabwe whose feast day we also celebrated this week. He was a catechist in Mashonaland in the late nineteenth century. When he was threatened for his associations with Europeans, and for the work he did at the mission in Mashonaland, he refused to desert the new converts and friends he had made there. He was stabbed to death and his body was never found. No one knows where he was buried, but a shrine was built in the area of his martyrdom, and pilgrims visit the shrine to this day. His sacrifice helped spread Christianity in that part of Africa.

We are all called to serve Christ but we aren't all called to the same ministries.
We aren't all called to celibacy, we aren't all called to poverty, and, thank God, we are not all called to martyrdom like Alban and Bernard Mizeki. All of us are called to work for the coming of the Kingdom of God and we are all called to tend the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner and welcome the stranger. We are all called to love one another as Christ loves us, and we are all called to proclaim the love of God for all, and to tell others of God's forgiveness and unconditional love for all of humanity. The lives of Alban and Bernard Mizeki are powerful examples of how devotion to Christ can make someone so completely selfless that they are willing to die for others. Jesus said that a true friend is willing to die for a friend, and just as Alban was willing to die in the place of the priest, just as Bernard was willing to die with his friends, Jesus was willing to die on the cross. Jesus calls all of us to such lives of selflessness, even through he does not call all of us to face a martyr's death. May the lives and witness of the martyrs continue to inspire us and may we all acknowledge Jesus before the world.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Word From The Management

The Management has been forced to put all comments on moderation. For this we are truly sorry. A Certain Person from White Plains, New York, has decided that God has called him to fill our comments with boring essays. For this we are truly sorry. It appears that the Prophet of White Plains believes that putting mitres on toys and posing them for photos and then posting said photos on the internet serves as advocacy of the Gay Agenda (those of you unfamiliar with the Gay Agenda may read about it here). We have no idea how the person came to this conclusion, and for that we are truly sorry. The Prophet of White Plains as also decided that Padre Mickey's Dance Party supports promiscuous, un-protected gay sex (apparently promiscuous, un-protected heterosexual sex is alright with the prophet). As far as the Management can tell, we have yet to promote sex of any kind and it hasn't really been a topic of discussion here. We do apologise for that time when we thought that STD stood for Super Talented Dancers rather than Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and for that we are extremely sorry and, frankly, quite embarrassed. It's a shame that we must put up a post like this, and, for that, we are very, very, sorry. We are not sorry, however, for supporting and loving our gay brothers and sisters. We will not apologise for being the persons God calls us to be. The Prophet of White Plains seems to believe that Christ calls us to warn against gay sex rather than spread the Good News of forgiveness of sins and the coming of the Reign of God, and for his confusion, we are truly sorry.

We also apologise to anyone who found this site while googling "Filthy Dog Toys Dressed Like Bishops."
For that, we are truly sorry.

However, I still refuse to apologise for voting for perennial Communist Party candidate Gus Hall in the 1976 presidential election. I was testing to see if my vote was really secret. And for that, I am not sorry at all.

Two Anniversaries Today

Fifty-four years ago today, my parents, James Maurice Dresbach and Constance Robina Johnson, stood before God and everybody at Saratoga Federated Church and were married. They're still married, which, as we all know, is a bit unusual nowadays. Happy Anniversay, Mom and Dad!

Ten years ago today, I, and five of my classmates from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, were ordained in to the Sacred Order of Deacons by the Rt. Rev. Richard Shimpfky, bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real, at Trinity Cathedral in San José, California.

Oh, yeah, it's also the Summer Solstice, which really doesn't mean much when you're only nine degrees north of the equator.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

'Sup Wit Dis Teal'c Fella?

When I was a kid on Okinawa, we used to watch Armed Forces Radio and Television Services (AFRTS). The programming was from the U.S. but it was usually two or three years old. I get the same kinda thing here in Panamá; we see some of the same programs folks watch in the U.S., but the programs are two or three years old, or in this case, almost ten years old.

TeleMax, Canal 9, has started showing Stargate SG-1, and I enjoy it. We are just now a few episodes into the second season. However, there are a few things I don't understand: why is it that the stargates on all the worlds are only located in arid deserts or in temperate zones? The Goa'uld simply can't take the tropical heat, or are they allergic to rum? Also, why the heck are the majority of the worlds only populated by white people? It seems that on almost every world, people of colour are in the minority. This doesn't make sense; people of colour are not the minority on this planet, so why would they suddenly be few and far between on the thousands of worlds on which the Goa'uld have visited and set-up housekeeping? Will the answer to these questions be revealed in other seasons, or am I the only person bothered by this stuff? I also don't understand why everyone speaks English, no matter where they go (well, if I switch off the SAP, it appears that everyone speaks español no matter where they go!).

Please answer these questions in the comments, unless you are from White Plains, New York; I'm pretty sure that this show isn't spreading hepatitis C or any other STDs.

. . . and Jonah was very happy about the vine

Remember this vine from June 1st? Well, it's grown a bit since then.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Warning

To the sex-and-disease obsessed commenter from White Plains, New York: It's time to stop. I know your IP address, I know your domain, and I will pass the information on to all the other Episcopal/Anglican bloggers. Don't come here anymore. You are guilty of the worst sin that can be committed in the Comments of Padre Mickey's Dance Party: Your comments are incredibly boring. Stupefying, actually. I can't afford to have people slipping into comas reading your long, boring, poorly-written comments. Most crazy people are at least entertaining, but you, like so many on your side of the issue, are simply self-rightous and dull. If photos of inanimate objects dressed with mitres causes you so much pain that you must post long comments which have nothing to do at all with what is going on here, it may be better for your heart to simply stay away. Be brave! Be strong! Stay away from here! You can do it! Because, if you don't, the friendly folks at Optimum Online (Cablevision Systems) may want to have a talk with you. Love in Christ, El Padre.

Additions to the Blog Roll

I am way behind in maintaining the Blog Roll. Today I am adding blogs that everyone already reads but should have been added a while ago.
Freedom Bound's blog
Revda. Susan Russell's blog An Inch At A Time
Revda. "That Kaeton Woman's" blog Telling Secrets
Revdo. Tobias Haller's blog In A Godward Direction
And Revdo. Jim Strader's blog Vocatio
If, for some odd reason, you are not already reading these blogs, Padre says, "Shame on you!" and "Check them out!"

Sanctification of the Faithful

The Rev. Paul E. Strid, formerly of St. Cuthbert's, Oakland, has a great post at the Episcopal Majority.
He also has a wonderful blog, Byzigenous Buddhapalian, which is well-worth reading. Padre Mickey says, "Check them out!"

Monday, June 18, 2007

ECW Father's Day Program

An important aspect of this blog, beside featuring the ever-popular Friday Red Mr. Peanut and Gallito Mescalito Blogging, and talking about ministry here in Panamá, is to post photos of the many activities which take place at Parroquia San Cristóbal for all the folks from Panamá who live outside the country at the moment. I apologize for not posting these last night, but I was tired when we got back home.

Yesterday Afternoon the Episcopal Church Women of St. Christopher's Parish held their Father's Day program. The theme for the afternoon was "Enter to Worship, Leave to Serve." It was held at the Bishop Clarence W. Hayes Auditorium at Instituto Episcopal San Cristóbal, across the street from the church. The ECW honored two members of our parish: Mr. Cecil Gill and Mr. Roberto Murdock. Cecil and his wife Cora are very active in the parish and diocese, and Roberto has served as Treasurer of the parish for the past eighteen years. He has also served as Treasurer of the Diocese of Panama.

We had a great turn out for the program, and every thing went very well, except for the terrible heat, but no one has control over that! We had six musical presentations and a talk from the pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Juan Diaz. My friend Elder Marcelino Marshall sang, as did Miss Sadie Taylor (you would not believe the range that girl has!). The Jeriel Group from the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Juan Diaz performed several numbers. Ms. Osiris Robinson was incredible, as always. Alfonso Lewis (the man who has never met a musical instrument he couldn't play and play well) backed up Macelino and Osiris. Then he performed two numbers from his latest CD. The final musical act was El Gran Combo de San Cristóbal. After the prayer and benediction, we were served a lovely dinner of Chicken-kabobs, with potato salad and gelatína for dessert. As always, a beautiful evening!

Photos 1-8, 10,11, 13 and 14 by the Lovely Mona. Photos 9 and 12 by the Rev. Nelson Edwards.

1. Banner in front of the church Sunday morning.
2. The Head Table
3. Elder Marcelino Marshall
4. Jeriel Group
5. Sadie Taylor
6. Mr. Percival Thomas, Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Christopher's
7. Cecil and Cora Gill
8. Roberto and Carmen Murdock
9. The Honorees
10. Ms. Osiris Robinson with Alfonso Lewis
11. Alfonso Lewis and his saxophone
12. El Gran Combo de San Cristóbal
13. The audience
14. Another shot of the audience

Of course, all the REAL action is backstage. The Lovely Mona and Padre Nelson got some great shots backstage, too!
Photos 1, 2, and 6: The Lovely Mona; Photos 3-5. the Rev. Nelson Edwards

1. Elfrida Beckford and Clara Edwards
2. Sadie Taylor
3. Percy Thomas and Osiris Robinson
4. Clara Edwards, Elfrida Beckford, and Barbara Smith
5. Elder Marcelino and Padre are up to something, and Ricky is listening in
6. It's crowded back there!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

It's Father's Day! A holiday of less importance than Mother's Day. Here in Panamá Mother's Day is a national holiday, while Father's Day is a Hallmark Holiday, just like back in the U.S. The ECW of San Cristóbal will make a big deal with a program this afternoon, and the youth will recite poems and sing songs at the end of the Mass this morning. And Padre Cáceres and I wlll get lovely gifts from the congregation (the members of the ECW make our clerical shirts and albs!).

Mona and I are fortunate as both our fathers are still with us, so we will call them tonight after the ECW program. Both of our fathers are good men and wonderful fathers. My dad and I would try to do the traditional father-son stuff, but neither of us are very traditional. I remember once on Okinawa when my dad bought us both fishing poles. We went fishing in Makiminato (just below the Episcopal Church where Edmond Browning was first consecrated bishop) and tried to fish. Well, we are not pescadores, and all I remember is pulling up a tire and a crab cutting the line on dad's pole. Even if we had caught anything, mom would have refused to cook it, so it was just as well. But at least we tried to do the traditional American father-son thing. I always felt bad for my dad because, since he was a missionary, he was expected to pray at every dang Boy Scout function he ever attended. I understand why he often had something else to do! Mona's dad, Neil, is a great guy, too, and was a faithful member of Indian Guides and Rainbow Girls with her. I've always liked Neil because, just before the wedding, when members of my family were threatening my life (my own Grandfather said, "If you do anything to hurt that girl, I'll hunt you down") Neil said, "Does he know what he's getting in to?" And our fathers like each other, so that makes life easier.
My daughters will have to report on what it is like to have me as a father. I tried, but I may have been different than other dads. I use to give the girls Rock History lessons on Saturdays. I remember going with Tara and her first grade class on a field trip to Happy Hollow Park in San José, California. Her classmates would keep running up to me and staring, and then run away. I finally asked Tara what was going on. She said, "Maybe they've never seen a dad with an earring before!" I also remember attending a Father-Daughter dance at St. Francis' Episcopal Church in San José, when Anne was a member of the Girl Scout troop there (well, we were also members of the parish). It was a 1950's party. I thought, "Sheesh, I was a baby in the 1950's and I'm not a fan of that stuff." We decided to come as Beatniks, while every one else was in poodle skirts and t-shirts and jeans. We had a great time freaking everyone else out!
I know that some folks have less than positive memories of their dads, and that affects their understanding of God as father. But I think that Joseph must have been a great dad, since Jesus had such a positive understanding of the name "father."
So, Happy Father's Day to Jim Dresbach and Neil Neimoyer, and my brother James Dresbach (a very dedicated and wonderful father; he puts me to shame all the time). You are all great fathers and I am proud to know you!

Picture 1. Miguelito: Papí, won't we get in trouble for drawing on the wall?
Dad: I'm the Father, and it's Father's Day. Who is going to give me trouble for drawing on the wall today? Your Mom? ¡¡¡¡Por Favor!!!!

Picture 2. These are all things my daughters gave me for Father's Day in years past. I've received bow-ties (which I can actually tie, which puts me above the majority of you losers) AND a pipe (they stood next to my while I was smoking it, saying "Gee, Dad, that smells good!" driving the Lovely Mona crazy! Don't worry, I don't smoke anymore (except in my dreams). I've received a watch, too, but I like it when they buy me a fine single-malt scotch whisky, which, I realize, also puts me in the Bad Dad column.

¡Feliz Día de Padre!

I See You!

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