Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging

A Special Note from the Management:At the end of last week's episode, the following questions were asked: 1. What will happen? 2. Will the gargoyle learn to love camp and make friends? 3. Will the crocagator chase kids? and 4. Is this episode a two parter? The answers to these questions are: 1. No. 2. I doubt it. 3. Probably. and 4. No. And now, tonight's thrilling episode of Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging!

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Wut da. . . Jus' wut duz he tink he's doin'?

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Hey eviebuddy!! We ah bein' 'sploited!! Sumbuddy's makin' money offa us widout askin'!!! WE AH BEIN' 'SPLOITED!!

Gallito Mescalito ¿Shriek?
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Look at dis! LOOK AT DIS! Dat Padre Mickey is makin' bucks offa MY bootiful face!
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Don' worry, pal; he's makin' heaps offa yoah freaky beak! Jus' look!

Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriieekk!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Dat's nuttin'. Looka dis!!

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy An DIS!!
Gallito Mescalito ¡¡Sshhrrriiiieeeekkkk!!

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy An he's sellin' LOTSA DEES!!
Gallito Mescalito ¡¡¡SSSSHHHHRRRRRRIIIIIII . . . shrieky-shriek. ¿Shriek?
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Well, yeah, it IS nice, but you don' drink coffee anyhoo, so why wud you buy one? An' he's 'sploitin' you fer hims own gain.

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Good evening, gentlemen. Why all the racket?
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Hey dere, Bank, Jus' look at dis!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank What an attractive shirt, with two Very Attractive Gentlemen portrayed upon it!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy PUHLEEZE! Cantcha see youse bein 'sploited?
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy An' look at . . .

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy . . . DIS!!!!
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriieekk!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Oh my! Look at that! "Red Mr. Peanut Bag." How very droll! Ha ha ha!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Por fa VOR! You ah jes' a tool!

Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love Hi boys; what's shakin'?
Everyone Good Evening, Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love! How are YOU this fine evening?
Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love I'm fine, fellas. Say, what are you all doing?Isn't the computer, and ESPECIALLY THE INTERNET off limits to us?
Red Mr. Peanut Bank That's true! We shouldn't even be here!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy But. . but. . . but. . . WEAH BEIN' 'SPLOITED!! JUS LOOK AT DAT SHOIT!!
Miss Egyptian Hippo of LoveWell I think the shirt is LOVELY! I'm mean, it has my beautiful face and figure on it, making it a Piece of Art!!

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Well, LOOK AT DIS!!
Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love That is One Fabulous Coffee Mug!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank You're right, Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love! If I could move my arms and open my mouth and drink coffee and earned money, why, I'd be honored to own such a lovely coffee cup!
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy YOU PEEPOLE AH PAWNS!!! LOOK AT DIS!!!!

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Oh My! It's Bunrab, may he rest in peace!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy An' pricedta move lotsa moichandise!!!

Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love The Crocagator? HA! No one in their right mind will buy that!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy I'm witcha deah, sistah, but even dat bastid guy shudn't be'sploited!

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Look at dat! Eviebuddy but da Mooses and da Penguino and Lil' Jesus bein' 'sploited so da Padre 'n' da Lubly Mona and dat dang dog can go away! It's jus' not right!
Gallito Mescalito er. . . shurriiieee. . .

Padre Mickey, off camera except for his hand HA! AND WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
Gallito Mescalito . . . EEEEIIIIKKKKKK!!!!!!
Everyone else YIKES!!!

Padre Mickey, off camera except for his hand You all know that you're not supposed to use the computer, and you've all been prohibited from the Internet ever since Diablito Sucio was caught downloading doggy-toy porn!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Sir, I apologise and take responsibility. I should have run everyone off when I found them here.
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love The Cat led us astray!

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy You ah 'sploitin' us!! You ah makin' money offa ah faces and we won' git nuffin' foah it! YOU AH 'SPLOITIN' US!!!

Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love It would have been nice to know that you were using our photos, but I must say that all the merchandise carrying my visage is in good taste!

Gallito Mescalito ¡Shrieky-shrieky-shriek-shriek! ¿Shriek? ¡Shriek!

Red Mr. Peanut Bank I am honored to be on t-shirts and that tote bag, sir. I just want to do what ever I can to help the cause!

Padre Mickey, off camera, excluding his hand Well, I apologize. It was wrong of me to go ahead without informing you guys. But I'm hoping to take you with us on our Sabbatical. I think you'd all be a big hit when the East Coast Bloggers get together!
Everybody WE GET TO GO, TOO?
Padre Mickey, off camera, including his hand If you're good!

Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy I still tink weah bein' 'sploited an I tink we shud walk! Da woikers hold da meansa produkshun, ya know! We need ta keep da Padre in line!

Padre Mickey, off camera except for his hand I'm warning you! If you go on strike I'll just do what I did last time, AND YOU'LL SPEND THE SABBATICAL SITTING ON THE BOOKSHELF HERE IN PANAMA!!!

Gargoyle Hey! Keep it down! And why aren't there any t-shirts with me on them? AND WHY WON'T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE???
Gargoyle Well, you don't have to be so mean! So are you all going on strike, or what?

Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!

Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging is going on hiatus.
Please join us next week for Padre Mickey's Love Shines Upon All Who Support The Dance Party And Its Struggles Against The Money-Grubbing Revisionists And Their Campaign Against The Creative Funding Of The Sabbatical Of Love

Friday Random Top Ten

Ya pushes "shuffle" and ya takes yer chances. . .

1. Jimmy Mó Mhíle Stór The Chieftains with The Rankins
2. When They Ring Those Golden Bells Emmylou Harris
3. Sacrificial Bonfire XTC
4. Ants Invasion Adam and the Ants
5. 45 Elvis Costello
6. Numberless Are The World's Wonders Original Cast Recording of The Gospel At Colonus
7. Dominica Palmarum Ensemble Organum w/ Marcel Pèrés
8. Where's My Snake? Bow Wow Wow
9. Soap Commercial The Psychedelic Furs
10. Peaches The Stranglers

Well, I don't really like this list much; a little too heavy on the New Wave stuff, but I will say "Thank God for the Stranglers!" It started out all girly with the Rankins and Emmylou Harris. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the Rankins and I love Emmylou Harris, that's why they're on my computer, but I guess I just wasn't in the mood for that stuff today. My faves on this list are Sacrifical Bonfire, Numberless. . ., Dominica Palmarum, and, of course, Peaches. Otherwise this list is kinda "meh" if you ask me and I know you didn't but tough beans 'cuz this is my blog.

Please post your lists in the comments; I'm sure we have no where to go but up!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

¡Super Cute Bebé!

This is my sweet Nieta Panameña Eva Victoria Batista, hermana de Alejandra y prima de Miss Bebé, Evannie, y Adela.
The Lovely Mona said that Eva Victoria is in some Beautiful Baby thang. When the Lovely Mona returns to la Rectoría I'll ask her where we must go to stuff the ballot box.

Come on, ¡ella es muy bonita!

Here's how you vote for Eva Victoria: click here. Once you are at the site, photos of the canditat@s will appear. At this moment Eva Victoria is way down on the list but we'll all move her up! Vote early and vote often!

UPDATE: I must confess: I love the fact that she is wearing a camisa with "Pampers" for a competition sponsored by Huggies! We aren't related biologically, but she's one of us! As are her parents!!

That's Why I Don't Drink Water. . .

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals


Ya know how it is when ya really screw up? Like, when you're thanking all these people in church for all they do, and you're pretty sure you covered all the guilds and vestry members and the office staff and the sexton and the acolytes and all the musicians and the Chalice Bearers and Lectors and then at two in the morning you sit up and say, "Dang! I forgot the Lay Eucharistic Visitors!" or when you up-date your blogroll and make a big production about how kewl everyone and their blogs are? And then, in your regular evening net-surfing you go to a friend's blog and realize "AH CRAP! I FORGOT TO ADD SPOCKO!!"? Ya know how that is? Well, me too!

Everybody simply must visit Spocko's Brain and read his Most Wonderful Post about people who go to church all the time, hearing about loving their neighbors and how they shall not kill, yet when they go to work they torture and kill their neighbor.

And, Spocko, in answer to your question: We call those people "really stupidly slow learners" and "Republican politicians." You know, the kind of people who, after giving tax cuts to the wealthy for years and years and then seeing the economy collapse believe that the solution to the problem is to give the wealthy more tax cuts!

Additions to the Blogroll

Wow, I have been very negligent about maintaining the Dance Party Blogroll. Since I'm not feeling particularly clever today, let's point you all towards some blogs worth reading! Some of you are already familiar with some of these folks, 'cuz yer so dang kewl, but I'm pushing these anyhoo.

I presided at the wedding of Stephen Rockwell and Julissa Pinto de Gracia a few weeks ago, and Stephen has a blog at: CrossLeft. It's a fine, Progressive Christian site.

Father Harry Allagree has a fine blog at The Good Heart. He writes about the saints, too, and his post on St. John Chrysostom is almost as long as the one I wrote. Check out his post today: St. Thomas Aquinas - Patron of Nerds?

Megan's blog, WC FIELDS has some great photos of lil' baby goats, probably the cutest lil' baby mammals around, next to lil' baby piggies. Megan was a child in Panama back before my time, but I know her sister Mary and her brother Butch, so she's part of the familia extendida.

Dance Party regular Fred Schwartz, keeper of the flame for '60's rock, is involved with several Central Valley blogs: Real Anglicans and The Grapevine.

Stephen Kimball has a super-cool music blog Dynamic Meter, featuring interviews and lotsa music reviews, and his taste is great!

Of course, EVERYONE reads Father Christian Troll at GAFCON, but I figure if I add him to the blogroll I may actually get into heaven.

Now, I thought that I had already added The Lovely Wife, and am shocked, shocked, I tell you, to see that I had dropped the ball in that area. This is a great blog, written from the perspective of a clergy spouse. To be clear, she is not my Lovely Wife, the Lovely Mona, but the Lovely Wife of Rev. Ref+, football-crazy priest in the Montana Wilds and Creator of Fine Pancakes.

Episcogranny is a grandmother of three and a proud follower of the Episcopal tradition. Her blog is a great read, too.

Reverenda Emily is a priest in Oklahoma and writes a great blog, Hazelnut Reflections. She's big on the knitting and yarn 'n stuff. Her husband, David, is a friend and former classmate and was a participant in the Panama Project at the same time as was I. He was the Good One to Sean and my Bad Ones.

Presbyterian Gal is a Presbyterian Gal and a great writer. It's a fun fun fun blog.

I've been reading Ruth's Visions and Revisions for a while now, and I'm embarrassed that I haven't added her yet. She hangs around here, which makes my negligence even worse! Me culpa, me culpa, me gran culpa. She gots a super-cute doggy, too. Go see Smokey chase stuff.

I don't know why I never added Friends of Jake. I mean, good grief, I'm on the team there! I'm a bad boy.

Counterlight's Peculiars is super-cool and groovy, just like Counterlight.

Padre Robert of Musings of an Episcopal Padre is way up north where the cold winds blow and keeps things in perspective. He is a much nicer person than I, so I read his stuff for self-improvement purposes.

I don't know how we managed to leave off the duck noodle gang of Caliban's Dream. That's just wrong in so many ways.

I really enjoy Bill Fleener, Jr.'s blog Est Anima Legis (The Spirit of the Law). and I think everyone should read it.

I think that's enough for now. Don't forget to buy your Gallito Mescalito Ceramic Travel Mugs and Crocagator Hoodies at the Dance Party Store of Love!

Back at the Hogar de Niñas

I just started going back to the Hogar after almost a half a year off. I took a summer school class last year on Monday mornings and stopped going due to the time conflict and then because of the stress of my final semester. But I was happy to get back. I realized how much I missed the girls when I spent the week with three of them at camp.

Several girls wanted to work with me, but I knew most of them wanted the books that I bring, so I loaned them out. I worked with Mari (I think that's her name), Carla and then Rosa Mari. I don't have a picture of Rosa Mari, but hopefully next time I'll get one.

The first picture is Sinhilda, who when we where at camp together asked me why I ate only salads and fruit. The simple answer was that I was vegetarian. That satisfied her her curiosity for the time being.

Mari and Enibeth

Carla, Sinhilda, and Estefani

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This Evening's Special Musical Selection

Did you enjoy that? That Neil Innes sure can mess up a guitar solo, eh? So, to show your appreciation, head over to the Dance Party Store of Love! and spend lots of money. If you don't the Terrorists win.

My Favorite Tree In The Whole World!

I was born in Northern California, and I loves me dem sequoias and red woods. I lived in Okinawa for most of my childhood and I loves me dem cherry trees, especially in the Spring when sakura bloom. But my favorite tree lives alongside the Pan-American Highway here in Panama. I first saw this tree when I was here with the Panama Project in 1998. I was staying in Santiago de Veraguas with Padre Simón Alvarado and his wife, Sandra. Padre Simón was suffering from a herniated disc, and we traveled between Santiago and Panamá and back several times. I was always amazed by this tree.

It's Dry Season, or Verano here in Panamá, so the tree has shed its leaves until the rains return.

The Lovely Mona took these photos of the tree on our way back from Campamento in Santa Clara, so now I can share my favorite tree with you. It's like we're sneaking up on the tree!

Closer. . .

Closer still. . .

Too close!

What is your favorite tree, or do you even have a favorite tree?

Feast of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople

O God, you gave your servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching, and faithfulness in ministering your Word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

John was born in Antioch in the year 347 to an illustrious Greek family. His father was a pagan and was the General in charge of the Eastern army. He died shortly after John's birth. His mother, Anthusa, was a Christian whose "piety was unexcelled among the women of Antioch." An older sister completed the family. John was educated on the family's estate and had the finest teachers. He was fortunate to be raised a Christian in a town where half the population was Christian. John did attend university in Athens for a short while, but most of his education was in Antioch. He studied rhetoric under the great Neoplatonist philosopher Libanius, a man who was violently opposed to Christianity. John was one of Libanius' best students, and Libanius wanted John to succeed him as head of the philosophical school "had not the Christians stolen him." John had met a monk, Diodorus, who lived in a monastery in the mountains, and John was very much interested in the monastic life. At the age of eighteen John suddenly turned against the teachings of Libanius. He decided to put aside all "this debauchery of learning" and become a monk. He was baptized by Meletius the Confessor, Patriarch of Antioch, but Bishop Meletius refused to allow John to live as a monk. He spent three years as an acolyte for the Patriarch's palace, and he later served as a Lector. Finally, after several years, the Bishop relented and John headed for the hills. He went to live with Hesychius, a Syrian monk whose name means quietness, and they spent their time in quiet meditation. They followed the Pachomian Rule, a very austere way of life. John retired to a cave, denied himself sleep, constantly read the Bible and spent two years without lying down because he believed that "a Christian must be watchful." He didn't have the physical constitution for such a life; his stomach shriveled up, his kidneys were damaged by the cold, and his digestion was permanently impaired. He realized that he could not doctor himself, so he came down from the mountain, went into Antioch and presented himself to the bishop, who sent him to the doctor and then assigned him to the office of "attendant upon the altar." Six years later Meletius died and Flavian became Patriarch of Antioch. John was ordained a priest and he began to develop this style of preaching. The people of Antioch, including the Christians, enjoyed the Theatre and horse racing, and they also had a great love of luxury. They were just a bit hedonistic. John preached against the past vices of the Antiocheans, he preached against their addiction to wealth, their love of the theatre, and their sensual enjoyments. When the people of Antioch, in reaction to a tax, rioted and destroyed statues of the Emperor (which resulted in the Imperial Army taking over the city and executing those involved), John preached for seven days in order to keep the peace. These sermons were written down and published as On The Statues and they are a great example of his preaching style. Due to his preaching and the pleading of Bishop Flavian, Antioch was spared destruction by the Emperor. John's preaching was loved by the Christians of Antioch, and he was called Chrysostom which means Golden Mouth. It is said that he would become angry because people would begin to cheer in the middle of his sermons! John was very happy to serve God and the people of God as a priest in Antioch.

This was a strange period in the Roman Empire. Constantine had moved the capitol from Rome to his new city of Constantinople earlier in the century, and the Patriarchate of Constantinople became an important See. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Bishop Nectarius, was a very loose-living, corrupt person, and he spent his sixteen years as Patriarch gaining wealth and indulging in gluttony, drunkenness, and the accumulation of power. Emperor Theodosius had a certain advisor named Eutropius, a eunuch, whom he had sent to visit the monks in Egypt, where Eutropius heard of John. Bishop Nectarius and Eutropius decided that the next Patriarch of Constantinople would be the priest John of Antioch and not Theophilus of Alexandria (these were the days when there was no love lost between Antioch and Alexandria). For some reason, these two corrupt persons chose the very person who would work hard to clean-up Constantinople and put everyone back on the correct path; I guess the Holy Spirit influences whomsoever the Spirit wants to influence and this is another example of how God uses people, even corrupt people, to bring about God's plan. Eutropius figured that John would probably refuse the offer, and that, even if he did accept, the people of Antioch would not let him go, so he used his political power to get John to Constantinople. Eutropius sent a letter to Asterius, the Governor of Syria, ordering him to put John out of the city secretly and take him under a strong escort to Constantinople. He suggested that he have John meet him at one of the martyr chapels just outside of the city's walls, and that is exactly what Asterius did. John thought he was going to a pastoral evening with the Governor; he rode out of the Roman gate at Antioch, never to return. As soon as he got outside of the gate, soldiers pounced on him, and he was tossed into an imperial carriage and spirited off to Constantinople. There a lots of stories about men being grabbed by crowds and dragged to the bishop for ordination, but John is one of the few of which I've heard who was grabbed by the army and dragged to the capitol to be ordained a bishop!

A Patriarch may only be consecrated by another Patriarch, and Theophilus of Alexandria was in Constantinople at the time, but he refused to consecrate John, since he'd had his eye on this particular Episcopal Throne. Eutropius brought out a sheet of paper containing charges so damaging against Theophilus that the Patriarch's face turned white! Eutropius said, "You will consecrate him, or face trial on the charges listed here." So, on February 26, 398, John of Antioch was enthroned as Patriarch of Constantinople. The man who fought against luxury and despised kings now lived in a luxurious palace close to the Emperor's palace. Now the priest of Antioch who preached against love of wealth was standing before ornate golden altars and wearing silk vestments. Of course, as soon as he became Patriarch, he began to a campaign to sweep the Church in Constantinople clean of corruption. He took all the fancy furniture and silver-plated items of the bishop's place, along with the marble columns purchased for the Church of Anastasia, and sold them, using the money to build a hospital. He reformed the lives of the clergy; he learned that they were in the habit of living with widows and consecrated virgins, women who had dedicated themselves to lives of celibacy in the Church. John called the "spiritual sisters" in, harangued them for the evil they had caused and then called in the priests and told them that they were a blight on the Church. Within three months the "spiritual sisters" and clergy were up in arms against their bishop. He told the wealthy to stop making donations to the priests and to give their alms to those who were worthy and in need. The priests, who feared a loss of income, began a campaign of rumours against their new bishop. Since he lived quietly and alone, in austerity, they whispered that he spent his days in orgies, stuffing himself with fine food, and the rumours spread all over the city, until one day when John showed himself half-naked, with his rib bones showing through his half-starved and ravaged flesh, but his austerities simply angered the luxury-loving priests of Constantinople. He examined the church accounting books and ordered the bishops to list their expenditures. He preached against horse racing and theatre and he ridiculed the wealth of the city. He refused invitations to parties and he never hosted any official dinners. He spoke out against the sensuality of the city, against its dancing girls and their indecent songs. He spoke out against ostentatious wealth, asking why must people have houses with doors of ivory and ceilings inlaid with gold? Why must a nobleman have ten or twenty mansions while others lived in hovels? He was pretty much preaching the same line which made him popular back home in Antioch. He ridiculed the clergy for their frailties and the rich for their hedonism, and he must have known that one day they would all turn against him!

At first, the Empress, Eudoxia, supported John's campaign and she sent magnificent gifts to the churches and the poor. But later, for some reason, she felt that all of John's talk of reform was talk against her. She eventually became one of John's many enemies in the city. John's greatest and most vindictive enemy was Theophilus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, the man who, under threat, had ordained him bishop. He hated John because John was from Antioch; he hated John because he was made Patriarch of Constantinople when Theophilus was sure that he had that position in the bag. He hated John because of his austerities, of his monastic-style of life. Theophilus had spent part of his youth in the desert, and he had been dedicated to Origenistic mysticism, named after the great Church Father Origen of Alexandria, one of the first theologians to understand the use of analogy in scripture. But he suddenly turned against Origen and the communities of monks living in the Egyptian desert. He attacked the four Tall Brothers, monks of the desert whose ascetic life-style had brought the Romans to a love of monasticism. Theophilus excommunicated the Tall Brothers and banished them from his See. He sent armed ruffians and Ethiopian slaves to attack their mountain refuges. The four monks escaped to Constantinople where they put themselves at the mercy of John, Patriarch of Constantinople. John gave them a place to sleep but no other aid. He was an Antiochian and had no love for Alexandrian mysticism. He wrote a letter to Theophilus, begging him to receive back his flock, especially before they could file indictments against him. Theophilus answered that the fate of the monks was not his affair; he could not be put on trail in Constantinople, he could only be tried by his peers, the bishops of Alexandria. The monks asked the Empress Eudoxia for help, and she issued an imperial edict ordering Theophilus to come to Constantinople. He arrived in Constantinople in August of the year 403, laden with gifts for the Empress. John invited him to stay at the episcopal palace, but Thoephilus accepted a suite at the Imperial palace at Pera instead. He spent three weeks in Pera, giving banquets for the clergy and nobility, and holding conferences with the defrocked priests. Two deacons, whom John had expelled for murder and fornication, spent long hours with the Patriarch of Alexandria. One of them presented him with a long list of crimes committed by John: He accused Chrysostom of selling church property, leaving the church without saying his prayers, illegally deposing bishops in Asia, striking a man in the face, holding private audiences with women, dining on gargantuan feasts, and robing and disrobing at the bishop's throne. The were a total of 29 charges and none of them were true. The fate of the four Tall Brothers was now forgotten; now Theophilus and his group simply wanted to destroy John Chrysostom.

Theophilus called a Synod at the Palace of the Oak Tree, and there he sat, along with thirty-six bishops in judgment of John. Twenty-nine of these bishops were from Alexandria and had no authority in Constantinople, but they did have the protection of the Emperor, through Eudoxia. Another eight charges were added to the original twenty-nine, including a charge that John had called the Empress a Jezebel. This wasn't true, although he had once said that the clergy of Constantinople were like the priests who ate at Jezebel's table. The Synod passed a resolution depriving Chrysostom of all his offices. The Emperor ratified the decree, banishing John on the false charges of immorality and high treason. With just a word, John could have brought a mob into the streets to defend him, but that was not his way, and he gave a farewell sermon and slipped out of town. The next day an earthquake struck Constantinople, shaking the Imperial Palace and the Empress' bedchamber. She was terrified and wrote a letter begging John to return and that he would be restored to the Episcopal Throne. He refused to enter the Cathedral of Hagia Sofia, saying that he could only be restored to power by the Synod which had dethroned him. Theophilus and his Synod, however, were no where to be found; they had run out of the city right after deposing Chrysostom. A new Synod of sixty bishops met, and all the proceedings of the Synod of the Oak Tree were annulled. However, only two months later, Chrysostom managed to upset the Royal Family once again. Eudoxia had a silver statue of herself erected just across from the entrance of Hagia Sofia, and Chrysostom was enraged, comparing her to Herodias demanding the head of John the Baptist. This time Eudoxia was not frightened by earthquakes, and she acted immediately. That Christmas neither the Empress nor the Emperor took communion in the Cathedral, and the Emperor issued an edict stripping Chrysostom of his position and powers. This time John refused to obey, saying I have received the Church from God our Saviour for the care of the salvation of the people. I cannot desert it unless you thrust me out by force; only then can I plead your authority in defending myself against the charge that I have deserted my post.

On Easter Sunday, April 16, 404, the Emperor ordered 400 archers to scatter the Christians who accepted Chrysostom as their Patriarch. They polluted the churches, plundered the church treasures, and drove the catechumens half-naked into the streets. They tried to kill Chrysostom twice, and he stayed in the Episcopal Palace for two months. Finally, realizing that the lives of the faithful were in danger, he obeyed the Emperor's order and left Constantinople. He told the Christians of Constantinople to obey their new bishop, and he was escorted by army troops into a live in exile. He spent three years being moved to the farthest borders of the Empire, treated horribly by the troops who escorted him. Finally, on September 7, 407, in Comana, John of Antioch, Patriarch of Constantinople, the Golden Mouth, who defied emperors and loved God, died. The news spread like wildfire, and his burial was attended by monks, consecrated virgins, and ascetics from Armenia, Pontus, Cilicia, and Syria. His body remained at the shrine in Comana for thirty years, until, at the beginning of the year 438, the relics were solemnly removed to Constantinople, where the people gathered in close-packed boats lit with torches at the mouth of the river to see his relics arrive. His remains were deposited in the Church of the Apostles, with those of emperors and patriarch, and a new Emperor laid his head on the box which carried John's remain, imploring forgiveness before God for the wrongs committed by his mother and father. And so, John Chrysostom returned to the city from which he had been expelled.

Like all the saints, John Chrysostom was human and had his failings; he was very anti-Semitic and some of his writings can be disturbing for that reason. But we are very fortunate that his sermons were transcribed by his deacons as he was delivering them and they survive to this day. His farewell sermon to the people of Constantinople is an amazing document.

I think one of the treasures of the Book of Common Prayer is this prayer attributed to St. John Chrysostom: Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Big Announcement

Yesterday was the Annual Parish Meeting for Parroquia San Cristóbal. We elected five new members to the Vestry and the Vestry presented our plan for the remodeling of the former Rectory. It will cost about $80,000.00 so we have quite a bit of money to raise. We will be looking for grants and donations from anywhere we can get them. We have also started a campaign for people to pledge monthly to the building fund, so that we can make monthly payments on a loan for the building and not endanger our budget. It's quite a plan and quite a project. Please pray for us and, if so move, donate to our cause!

I also announced that the Lovely Mona and I (and Chompita) will be taking a sabbatical this year. Our third three-year term as missionaries ended on December 31, 2008, and we need a break. We hope to be in California from mid-April through mid-August, 2009. I will be writing a book about the saints. We will be visiting daughters, sons-in-law, and GRANDCHILLINS! We will be visiting Bishops and Canons to the Ordinary in several dioceses. We plan to spend a lot of time at our place in the Trinity Alps. And we will be in New York City sometime in June, visiting our supervisors at 815 Second Avenue. We would love to get together with the East Coast Episcopal Bloggers, if possible. I'll bring the Bank and the Bird and maybe even the Hippo.

We are looking for funds for the sabbatical. We live very simply and that's easy here in Panama, but I can't imagine that we will survive very long on the income we have, so here's the Big Announcement: I've opened Dance Party Store of Love! It's Grand Opening is RIGHT NOW!!! We're selling T-shirts, Sweatshirts, caps, mugs, and even a Tote Bag with the visages of your favorite Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging Stars!! Well, not all of your favorites, but several of them. Yes, there IS a Bunrab, the Filthiest Toy in the House t-shirt. Bunrab's gone on to his Reward, but you can honor his memory by purchasing the Bunrab T-shirt for the low, low price of only $12.00. Now, I tried to keep the mark-up low, but, sheesh, I AM trying to make enough to keep us from standing at freeway entrances holding cardboard signs lying about how I am a veteran. I live in a country where one can by a Nice Shirt or Dress for only $2.00, but you all live in places where the prices of the Dance Party Store of Love will seem downright reasonable, BECAUSE THEY ARE!!! And once you see our products you'll shout GIBITAME!!! GIBITAME RIGHT NOW!!!!

So, click on Dance Party Store of Love! right now and peruse our merchandise and buy buy BUY!

Oh yeah: If you break it, you've bought it. Are your hands clean?

I See You!

Sign by Danasoft - Get Your Free Sign