Monday, March 30, 2009

Catching Up. . .

Early Friday morning I arrived at the church to get ready to lead Morning Prayer for the Choir's Quiet Day (yeah, I know; Choir and Quiet don't really go together). I was bringing some books into the nave when I smelled something wonderful! I immediately made my way to the kitchen, and there was Mercedes Snape frying up some codfish cake. I loves me the codfish cake! That's what we had for breakfast, after Morning Prayer and the Very Reverenda Maizee Lennan's talk on The Choir as a Ministry. As one would expect from the Dean of the Cathedral, it was an excellent reflection. Members of several choirs (including the Lovely Mona, directora del Coro de Jovenes) participated. Here are some photos of the codfish cake and the attendees of the Quiet Day.

Mercedes Snape at the stove

Codfish cakes!

La Muy Revda. Maizee Lennan


Then, in the evening, we had our Lenten Series talk (we've been using A Spiritual Journey by one Revdo. Terry Martin) and the Stations of the Cross.

Sunday afternoon the Lovely Mona and I went to visit our Panamanian kids. Yasury and her husband, Emilio, Yasury's sister Ingrid and Ingrid's friend Kasee (all three girls are our Panamanian daughters) and our lovely nietas, Alejandra (age 8) and Eva Victoria (six months). We had a very nice afternoon with our familia. Emilio showed us around their new house and showed me all the work he is doing on the yard. We ate carne asado and yucca and drank cervezas. On the way home we stopped off and visited Emilio's folks (they live down the street from Yasury and Emilio and the girls). I frightened Eva Victoria; Emilio and I went into her room and I was looking into the crib when she awoke and saw abuelo's hairy face. Her eyes got huge and then she started crying. It took her about twenty minutes to decide that I was okay. Here are some photos.

Eva Victoria


Las nietas con abula

Los Machos

Los Machos con Eva Victoria

Neighborhood kids (Eva Victoria reaching for Sofia)

A Campaign

Illustration by MadPriest

I know that not everyone here reads MadPriest or Revda. Elizabeth Kaetons' blogs, as difficult as that is to believe. These two wonderful priests are running a campaign to help raise funds for our sabbatical, which takes place next month. The t-shirt-coffee-mug scheme has not worked as well as I had hoped; heck, it's barely worked at all, so I am very grateful for the help of The Evil Lesbian Priestess and MadPriest. Please go here or here and make a donation if so moved.

Muchisimas gracias.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging

Tune: Sam & Dave's "Soul Man"(Well, it's really by Steve Cropper, but most people identify it with Sam & Dave, except for those who think it's a Blues Brother's song, but we'll pretend they don't exist. But I digress. . .

Coming to you on a goofy blog
Silly stories, and toys of the dog
Song parodies, and dumb knock-knock jokes,
Don't worry, there's a shriek coming

I'm a Peanut Bank, Red Mr. Peanut Bank
I'm a Peanut Bank, Red Mr. Peanut Bank

You look for us every Friday
And we make it better, in almost every way
But when we fail, well, don't you fret
We're just knick-knacks and toys of a pet

I'm a Hippo o' Love, Miss Egyptian Hippo o' love!
I'm a Hippo o' Love, Miss Egyptian Hippo o' love!

I wanna tell you 'bout the Store of Love
It's all on-line, dere's no need ta shove
Git a tee-shirt or bishop mug
Gallito Mescalito Ceramic Travel mug!

I'm a shameless shill! Crocagator da Shill!
Heh! Heh! Heh!
I'm a shameless shill! Crocagator da Shill!

You're here every Friday, you've been sucked in
To the Dance Party riddim, an' we wanna be yer bes' friends





dyr-deer, dyr-dyr-dyr-da-dyr, dyr-deer, deer-deer-deer
horns badda-badda-badda-baaaaaa

I'm a Peanut Bank,
horns dadat-dat-dah-dadat
Red Mr. Peanut Bank
guitar diddelie-deee

I'm a Hippo o' Love,
horns dadat-dat-dah-dadat
Miss Egyptian Hippo o' love!
guitar diddelie-deee

We're your Friday night thang!
horns dadat-dat-dah-dadat
Groovy Friday night thang
guitar diddelie-deee


Friday Random Top Ten

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

1. V2 Schneider (Heroes Symphony) Philip Glass
2. Gavotte I & II (J.S. Bach) Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
3. Another Man's Vine Tom Waits
4. El Borracho Maná
5. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da The Beatles
6. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) Marvin Gaye
7. Stupid Marriage The Specials
8. All These Things That I've Done The Killers
9. Hate Paper Doll Hüsker Dü
10. Draw Your Brakes Scotty

Geez, talk about all over the place!! Two orchestral works to start us off. Now, if the last piece had appeared first, we would have stopped there, as the New Dance Party Friday Random Top Ten Rule is: we stops once we hits a song that is way bettah dan anyting. I like everything on here, but, come on, nuttin' beat Scotty Dis is indeed a sad, sad, song! Too bad I could only find a stone-age video of Scotty.

Hey! No XTC. That's different!

Waddaya listening to? Please to be placing your lists in the comments.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hogar de Niñas

I really enjoy going to the Hogar and working with the girls. When I was there on Monday, I worked with two new girls whose names I didn't catch. They are sisters, ages 5 and 4. They have been abandoned. From what I understand from Tía Sue, their parents gave them to their aunt to raise about a year ago. Then the aunt got a job and couldn't take care of them, so they are at the Hogar.

When I read Michael's post on the Quiverfill Movement, I was sad because I see too many children who have been neglected, abandoned, and abused. How does that fit into their belief system regarding how many children people have?

Here are pictures I got of the sisters and other children at the home this week.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wadda Ya Think?

I was listening to Morning Edition on KQED-FM this morning (hey, I'm a Bay Area guy, born in Oakland. Waddaya think I'm gonna listen to, WNYC-FM? Well, okay, sometimes I do), and there was a story on the Quiverfill Movement. Have you heard of this? These are people who believe that God will give one the proper amount of children. Apparently they also believe that they have to produce lotsa kids for God's Army against the Heathen Muslims and Everyone Else. Kinda interesting discussion for the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord. Then, to top things off, later today I made one of my little forays into the territory of the Not Really Anglican But So They Claim territory, at a site to which I shant link, but their initials are Titus 1:9, where our Christian Brothers and Sisters were discussing the same program. The general belief there was that Of Course All True Christians™ believe that God will decide how many children one should have; just trust in him!

Okay, I'm a missionary. I depend on God for lotsa stuff. I depend on God to keep me outta the Poorhouse and I haven't been disappointed. I've got lots of stories about trusting in God to supply my needs. But I have never, NEVER depended on God for birth control. While our dear friend and brother Fred Preuss may think that I am a total nut-case mystic, I believe he is wrong. The Lovely Mona and I decided that two children would be enough, and I had a little visit to the Vet (Only $25.00 with a coupon from the Santa Clara County SPCA, and I had to spend the night in a cage and eat kibble, but it was worth it) after our darling Anne was born. I've never regretted this decision. We have several "adopted" kids, and I love them just as much as I love my biological issue. I trust God for a lot, but, as far as I can tell, God is not very much interested in Human Birth Control, so if ya keep poking yer wife without pills or balloons or anything, ya has a good chance a makin' more babies. I really don't understand this kind of thinking.

It seems to me that there are plenty of babies without parents, children available for adoption, for those who believe that God wants families to be huge. But we are no longer living in an agricultural society. We no longer need twelve kids to run the friggin' farm. I'm the eldest of four, which was just under the Official Count for a large family (anything over six was considered "farm family" back in the sixties). My paternal grandmother was the eldest of nine (my dad's Uncle Jack was two years younger than he; you know that was fun!), and she was not a fan of Big Families.

What do you think? Is this Quiverfull thing just another crazy wingnut insane white-fundy thang, or do you think that God will regulate the correct number of children for your family? Tell me all about it in the comments, and, I will respect your opinion, as long as you make sense.

Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord

Our series March, the Month of Saints Named Gregory is suspended today in honor of the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord, and we celebrate said feast with my Feast of the Annunciation sermon

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord, the commemoration of the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to a young Jewish girl in Palestine some two thousand years ago. This feast has been celebrated since the fifth century, and it is one of the few feasts which are important enough that the fast of Lent is actually suspended for the day. Some see this feast as Mariological, that is, that it has to do primarily with the Blessed Virgin, but I see it as Christological, I believe that it has more to do with the Christ, the Incarnation.

The reading we heard this morning from the Hebrew scriptures is a very interesting reading, as it can be understood on two levels, and both have to do with prophecy. We can read the meaning of this text in its original historical situation which is described in the second Book of Kings. The nation of Syria had entered into an alliance with the northern kingdom of Israel against the southern kingdom of Judah, of which Ahaz was king. Both Syria and Israel had laid siege to the city of Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah offered Ahaz a sign that everything would eventually work out and be successful, but Ahaz refused the sign, probably because he didn't want Isaiah's advice. Isaiah was a prophet who always spoke the word given to him by God' he didn't care whether Ahaz wanted to hear it or not. The sign Isaiah gave Ahaz was: A young woman will conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. In this context, it is probable that the young woman was the wife of Ahaz, and the son to be born is Hezekiah, the future king of Judah. The sign, then, concerned the continuation of the dynasty of David, a sign that God was still with God's people.

The second meaning is that of Matthew and is the meaning which we, as Christians, recognize. We read this as a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, and we see the young woman as Mary, and the son as Jesus. When the author of Matthew's gospel quoted Isaiah's prophecy, he was not using the actual Hebrew text but using a translation we call the Septuagint which is a translation from the original Hebrew into Greek, which is the language of the Christian scriptures or New Testament. In the Septuagint the word for young woman was translated as παρθενους, which means "virgin." Now, it's quite probable that Isaiah was only thinking of the immediate future when he made his prediction to Ahaz, but since he as a prophet, and the Spirit of God was upon him, the Holy Spirit was speaking through him and this prophecy did have to do with the birth of Hezekiah but also had to do with the birth of the Incarnation. The genealogies of both Matthew and Luke serve to tell us that the birth of Jesus was also a continuation of the Davidic dynasty, and Jesus truly was Emmanuel, "God with us." The Holy Spirit, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, was giving hope to Ahaz and hope to the entire world.

The reading from the Gospel of Luke is the story of the Annunciation, and it is a story that we usually only hear during Advent, and people outside of the Liturgical tradition only think of this story during Christmas. The Bible contains several annunciation stories: there are annunciation stories about the birth of Isaac, about the birth of Samson, the birth of Samuel, and, of course, the birth of John the Baptizer. The purpose of an annunciation story is to acquaint the reader or those listening to the story with the role that the person about to be born will play in salvation history. The purpose is to give us a foreshadowing, in a way, of what will happen, of how important this person's life will be; it is not to serve as an accurate historical narrative. In the other annunciation stories I mentioned, the situation was that a child was to be born to a couple who were either barren and unable to have children, or, in the case of Abram and Sara, a couple who were well past child-bearing age, so the angel was announcing a miraculous birth. But the situation in today's story is quite different: this annunciation is to a young woman of child-bearing age, but she is a woman without a husband, which, as we all know, does not prevent one from having a child. The emphasis in this story is not on a miraculous birth, but on the creative act of the Holy Spirit in bringing about the conception in the womb of this young girl so that the Incarnation, God in Flesh, could come and live among us, so that Emmanuel, God-with-us, could be born in a simple stable with beasts of burden. The Archangel Gabriel came to this young, frightened girl, and informed her that she had been chosen above all others to be the Θεοτοκυς, the God-bearer. Gabriel told her that she would become pregnant, that she would have a son, that his name would be Jesus, and that he would be called Holy and the Son of God. When Mary asked how this could be since she did not have a husband, Gabriel explained the process to her, and also told her that although this may sound strange, her cousin Elizabeth was with child because with God nothing is impossible. And Mary, the one we call Blessed above all women, said, "You see before you the Lord's servant; let it happen to me as you have said." And with her agreement, and with her obedience to God's will, the salvation of the world was able to take place. It is said that "God made us without us, God redeemed us without us, but God cannot save us without us." Mary represented all of humanity when she said "yes" to God's plan, and we have been saved because a human being allowed God to dwell in her womb for nine months.

Mary answered "yes" to God's call, just as Abraham had answered "yes" to God's call. When Abraham answered God's call, he became the father of a mighty nation, the nation of Israel. When Mary answered God's call, she became the mother of the faithful, of God's people, the Λαος, the People of God' she became the mother of the New Israel. Her response to Gabriel, "You see before you the Lord's servant; let it happen to me as you have said," expresses the same faith as that expressed in the prayer her son, Jesus, taught us to say: Your will be done on earth as in heaven. The Annunciation is an event outside of history, because it is the direct intervention of God in human affairs, it is the actual insertion of God into human affairs, because God took on a human body and lived and laughed and ate and drank and slept and woke and experienced all the joys and trials which make up this life, this human existence.

The Feast of the Annunciation takes place on March 25th because it is supposed to be exactly nine months before the birth of Jesus. You mothers know that it is actually quite rare that someone is born exactly nine months after conception; some babies are early and some are late, and it is quite probable that Jesus was not born on December 25. St. Clement of Alexandria was sure that Jesus was born on May 20. But I think that it is appropriate that the Feast of the Annunciation is celebrated during Lent, because the Lenten season points towards the purpose of the Incarnation: to live as one of us, to be arrested and executed, to be buried and then on the third day be resurrected so that death would be conquered, that humanity would be redeemed and given the gift of eternal life. Lent points us towards the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and the Annunciation points us towards the birth by which the Incarnation came to live among us.

Today we celebrate the Archangel's message to a young girl. Today we celebrate the young girl's obedience to God's will. Today we celebrate the life which told us of the Good News of forgiveness of sins and the coming of God's Reign.

Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever Amen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Saturday with the Altar Guild

Saturday the Lovely Mona, Padre Mickey, members of the Altar Guild and ECW of San Cristóbal, and our Senior Warden, Keith Green (who drove the bus) went to Gamboa to have a Quiet Day at Iglesia Episcopal de San Simón. We explored different styles of prayer, had some great discussions, a nice lunch of fruit and crackers and cheese, and ended the day by Praying with the Hymnal, which was really more of an old-fashioned Hymn Sing.

The Lovely Mona and Barbara Smith were harvesting marañon (the fruit of the cashew tree). They were using all the Approved Panamanian Methods for harvesting fruit that's too high to reach: throwing rocks and whacking with a big stick. The Lovely Mona uses marañon in her smoothies. We still don't know how to process the actual cashew at the bottom of each fruit. I think one roasts them, but we're not sure and the raw cashew is not something with which to mess around. But I digress. . .

Sunday morning a member of the parish, Sarah Williams, celebrated her birthday by providing breakfast at the Coffee Hour. Here are some photos of folks enjoying breakfast.

The priest sitting behind Mrs. Doyle is Padre Surgeon. He's going to be helping Padre Cáceres while I'm on sabbatical.

I See You!

Sign by Danasoft - Get Your Free Sign