Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's Back!

Mac Mini is back from the hospital. He had a bad hard drive. A new hard drive was installed, but I think it is smaller than the original, because I had 1.34 gb of space on the hard drive when it went into the shop, and now it's full. I did purchase an external hard drive (320 gb!) so now everything is backed-up but I wants more room. I gotta talk to dem peoples.

Busy day; will post stuff mañana.


Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy
Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the
earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mac Mini is at the Doctor

Our Mac Mini is presently at the shop being repaired. It may be the logic board or it may be the hard drive or it may be the Spread of Socialism in the United States of America; we just don't know right now.

I've got photos of the CDSP commencement featuring Kirsten Paisly and Vivian Lam graduating, as well as my friend Nigel Renton recieving his honorary Doctorate, PLUS photos of Miss Bebe at the Fambly Gavering, but I can't post any photos until the Mac Mini returns from the Apple Store.

Also, a big raspberry to the Supreme Court of the State of California for their decision to allow the bigots of California (and Utah and other Mormon-dominated areas who spend a lot of money to further their cause of hate) to keep their stupid proposition on the books. At least IT's (and everyone else who took advantage of the opportunity) marriage is still valid in the eyes of the state.

To quote my daughter Anne (who, at the age of 13 was shocked to learn that Gays couldn't marry): "What a stupid, stking, racist, sexist, homophobic world we live in!"

AND: I HATE WINDOWS!!! It's taken me three attempts to post this pitiful post!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blogging Slowdown

Well,upon returning home after purchasing a printer, I fired-up the Mac Mini to discover that it has switced into some goofy mode. It is not working, so I'm taking it to the Apple Store after witnessing the Glorious Graduation of Kirstin Paisly and Vivian Lam. "And just how, Padre Mickey, are you managing to write THIS post?" I'm pecking it out on my iPod and it is a very tedios process, so there won't be much blogging until the mac mini is healed.

Just one more thing: 'sup with that freaking dips**t anal pyrotechnic former Vice-president Richard "Source Of All Evil" Cheney? Why is he allowed on television? In a Just World he would be shackled and languishing in caves of methane ice for war crimes against humanity. But noooo, there he was, lying about how waterboarding saved the nation from all danger. What the man needs is a Big Steaming Cup of STFU!!

Over and out, my sweet little Dance Party Denizens!

Perfect For Grads 'N' Dads!

That's right, we're shilling once again! These wonderful gifts are available at Dance Party Store of Love!

Feast of the Ascension

This is an edited version of my Ascension Day sermon

Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Ascension Day is an interesting event to celebrate, and I will admit that this is a feast which carries some complications for those of us who grew-up in the Space Age (when's the last time you heard that phrase?). We have a different understanding of the universe than did the original audience of the story of the Ascension. The people of that era believed in what we call a three tiered universe: there was the underworld, then our world, then the heavens. They believed that the ground separated the underworld and this world, and that something similar to a large curtain separated this world from the heavens. This curtain had little holes in it, and God’s glory shone through those holes, and that is what we call the stars. In a three tiered universe, certain beings were capable of moving between the three worlds. Greek mythology was full of stories of heroes who visited the underworld, and in our Nicene Creed we say that Jesus "descended into hell." The Church also teaches that he "ascended into heaven." The story of the Ascension appears in the three synoptic gospels, and in the second part of Luke’s work, the Acts of the Apostles, but in John’s gospel the Ascension happens of the day of Resurrection and apparently there were no witnesses to the event. Now, when we read Luke’s two versions of this event, and the versions in the other gospels, for that matter, one is led to believe that Jesus floated up in the sky until he got to heaven. In the second ending of Mark’s gospel it reads: So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. In a three tiered universe such a thing is possible, as one simply passes through that curtain which separates the two worlds and one will be at the Throne of the Father in no time. We, however, live in a different time; most of us can remember the trips to the moon made by the astronauts of the 1970’s. We live in a time in which the sky is filled with satellites which make it possible for us to communicate with the other side of the planet in seconds. We live in a time when we have seen photographs of the planet taken from outer space. We live in the time of the Hubbell Telescope which has enabled us to see far across the vast expanse of space. This knowledge of the universe, and this perspective of the universe, makes it difficult for someone like me to think of Jesus as floating up to heaven, since I just see him rising up and up and up and up past the moon, past the asteroid belt, past Jupiter and the large planets, past our solar system, past the galaxies; I guess he would just keep rising and rising forever!!!

But fortunately, that is not what Ascension Day is about; that is not the meaning of the Ascension. There are reasons for the stories about Jesus floating up into heaven, but that is not what the theology of the Ascension is about. If the Ascension is not about Jesus floating up to heaven, what is it about? It has to do with several theological points, it has to do with the theology of the Holy Trinity. The Ascension is the moment when Jesus, the Son, the Redeemer, the Second Person of the Trinity, came into the presence of the Father, the Creator, the First Person of the Trinity. This is the moment when the Son came into the presence of the Father because he had accomplished the task given to him by the Creator. It is a theological event, not what we would consider an historical event.

The theology of the Ascension has been an important part of Jesus’ story from the very beginning of the Church. It has always been an important part of the Christology of the Church for several reasons. The first reason is that the Ascension represents the culmination of the earthly mission of Jesus. His death and resurrection could not have their full effect until Jesus ascended to the presence of the Father, to whom he presented his finished work of atonement. We teach that Jesus had two natures, that he was fully human and fully divine, and it was at this moment that the humanity of Jesus was taken up to God and glorified. This aspect of the Ascension, this aspect of the Resurrection, was very important to the early Christians, and St. Paul speaks of it several times in his letters to the Christians around the Mediterranean. The Ascension is also important because it tells us that the earthly body of Jesus is no longer present within time and space. The earthly body of Jesus now belongs to the Son of God in eternity, that is why the stories have him floating up into the heavens, so that there was no question of Jesus’ body being left behind, otherwise people might say that he wasn’t resurrected, he was revived somehow and then died later. Some people actually do make such a claim; There is a tomb in Japan and a tomb in Pakistan which are supposed to hold the body of Jesus.

The Resurrected and Ascended Jesus is not present to us in the way he was present to the disciples. We now seek the presence of Jesus within our gathering, because he told us that when two or three are gathered in his name, he is in our midst. We now seek his presence in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, where he is present in the sharing of the bread and wine. We now seek his presence in the faces of the poor, in the faces of the meek, and in the faces of those assembled here.

Another important aspect of the Ascension is that the Son had to come into the presence of the Father so that the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, could be sent to us. Jesus promised that after he ascended to the Father, he would send the Comforter, the Advocate, but the Holy Spirit could not come to do its work among us until the Son had ascended to the Father.
We will be celebrating the Feast of Pentecost next Sunday, the birthday of the Church, the celebration of the coming of the Comforter, the celebration of the Spirit’s descent like tongues of fire, the celebration of the Spirit’s presence like a wind. Because Jesus ascended to the Father, the Holy Spirit was sent to us, and we are now able to follow Jesus’ commandments, because the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to do what God wants us to do. We are unable to do these things on our own, and since Jesus was fully human as well as fully divine, he fully understands our weakness. Because the Son knows of the weakness of the flesh, because the Son knows of the difficulties of our earthly existence, he ascended to the Father so that the Holy Spirit could descend and give us the strength we need. And because the Son ascended to the Father, the Spirit has descended, and we are no longer alone, we have the Comforter to guide us, to give us strength, to lead us as we follow the commandments of our Lord. In last Sunday’s gospel reading, Jesus said that if we are his friends, we will follow his commandments. We want to follow his commandments because we are his friends, we want to love one another as he loves us, we want to love the Lord with all our heart and soul and mind, we want to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, heal the sick, visit the prisoner and welcome the stranger, but we can only do this with the help of God, and that is why God the Holy Spirit is here with us. The Son has ascended to the Father so that the Spirit could descend.

This is why Ascension Day is important, because today we commemorate the Ascension of the Son to the Father. Today we remember that Jesus was completely obedient and fulfilled the task given to him by the Father. Today we do not commemorate Jesus floating into the air, but we commemorate the fact that his mission was completed successfully, that the way was made ready for the coming of the Holy Spirit, and now we are never alone, that the presence of God is always with us.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How To Avoid Swine H1N1 Flu

I think I nicked this photo from Tengrain (it looks like his kinda stuff) but I can't remember

Padre Mickey's Rules On Avoiding Swine H1N1 Flu:
1. Wash your hands constantly.
2. Eat lotsa salad (okay, that's actually the Lovely Mona's advice).
3. Keep washing those hands.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Did I Miss Something?

Michael "Pull My Finger" Steele, Chairman of the RNC

From Talking Points Memo we read:
Steele Speech Today: The Era Of Apologizing For GOP Mistakes Is Over
RNC Chairman Michael Steele is set to deliver a speech to state GOP chairmen today, seeking to re-energize the party. "The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over. It is done," Steele will say. "We have turned the page, we have turned the corner. No more looking in the rearview mirror." He will also declare: "Republicans may be the minority party at the moment, but we represent the ideas and concerns of the majority of Americans."
Did I miss something? Have the Republicans and the RNC been spending a lot of time apologizing for the past thirty eight years? Have Dick Cheney and George W. Bush come out and apologize for the WMDs and the invasion of Iraq? Has Donald Rumsfeld been apologizing for pushing the Bush administration to continue with their Excellent Iraqi Adventure by plying Dubya with Bible-verse laden reports? Has Dick Cheney, John Yoo, Condoleeza Rice and the rest of those bastids members of the Opposition apologized for torture? Has Rush Limbaugh apologized for, well, for existing? I know that I've been a bit distracted lately, but I'm pretty sure I would have remembered such apologies. Perhaps Michael Steele is talking about all the apologies Republicans have been making whenever one of them says something bad about Rush Limbaugh. . .
Oh, and this:

Tuesday Miss Bebé, The World's Most Beautiful Granchile™ Blogging

Saturday afternoon, the Lovely Mona and I had the wonderful opportunity to babysit Miss Bebé, the World's Most Beautiful Granchile™ for some four hours. We arrived a bit early so Tara and Chris could prepare her for their departure (she's still getting used to los abuelos). We were playing with the toy stethoscope when they left, so she didn't really pay much attention. Then we played "spinning in the chair" for what seemed like hours. If I stopped spinning the chair, she'd say "more spinning, please!" so I spinned the chair some more. Fortunately, this grew boring before she had a chance to barf. Then we watched a DVD of Caillou (in German!). Either Miss Bebé was exhausted from all the spinning or was a bored with the little bald-headed kid as los abuelos were, because we all fell asleep on the couch. Abuelo Mickey woke up first and turned the DVD off and watched a television program about the Chinese immigrant experience in the U.S.A. Then Abuela Mona woke up and we talked. Miss Bebé remained asleep until her folks came home. We all discussed the Star Trek film while Miss Bebé had a fit (she doesn't wake up well). We decided to leave so that mom and dad could have all the fun of dealing with a screaming child. All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!


Playing guitar with mom

¡Escucha, abuela!

More spinning, please!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Well THAT Explains A Lot!

This article may explain why the orthodites are so obsessed with what goes on in other peoples' bedrooms. The list below clarifies the point. I'm surprised that Philadelphia Pittsburgh doesn't appear on the first list.

Top 10 cities for erectile dysfunction:
1. Tulsa
2. Lubbock, Texas
3. Charleston, W.Va.
4. Arlington, Texas
5. Fort Worth
6. Oklahoma City
7. Anchorage, Alaska
8. Bakersfield, Calif.
9. Modesto, Calif.
10. Omaha, Neb.

Top 10 nonerectile dysfunction cities
1. New York
2. San Francisco
3. Newark, N.J.
4. Jersey City, N.J.
5. Durham, N.C.
6. Burlington, Vt.
7. Atlanta
8. Washington
9. Hartford, Conn.
10. Boston

I wonder which Global South cities would appear in an international survey. . .

This post has been visited by the Alter Guild

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging

The Lovely Mona and I have been gone most of the day, and we're heading out again in a few minutes. So we invite you to enjoy this re-run Classic edition of Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging. We'll try to do better next week. And Now. . . .

An Evening With Søren Kierkegaard
Someone, whose name I won't mention, but his initials are Padre Mickey, decides to delve into his Scandinavian roots
Dedicated to my fellow Scandahoovians Paul, Søren, and the late Ingmar Bergman, my buddys Bert and Don who are huge Kierkegaard fans, and to Nancy Compier (who graduates tomorrow YAY NANCY!), who thought Kierkegaard looked like Elvis (the fat, dead, Elvis, not the One True Living Elvis!).

To believe is not an indifferent relation to something that is true. It is an infinitely decisive relationship. The accent always falls upon the relationship.

Itsa great queshun wedda dose what God can't make mad have evah really existed fa God.

Our age is without passion. Everyone knows a great deal, we all know which way we ought to go and all the different ways we can go, but nobody is really willing to move.

The truth is incessantly subject to fraud, particularly on the part of those closest to it. Since truth is never decided by the "what" but by the "how," it is clear that we will always have false editions of the same truth.


The passion of faith lies not in testifying to an eternal happiness but in transforming one´s own existence into a testimony to it.

Seeking the truth means that the seeker himself is changed, so that he may become the place where the object of his search can be.

It is much easier to suffer on account of one´s sin than to suffer because one relates himself to God.

¡El Penguino! If a person does not become what he understands, then he does not understand it, either.
Mighty Moose of Vermont A speculative thinker has finished on paper and mistakes this for existence.
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy In da woild a spirit, ta change place is ta be changed yerself.

Adversities do not make a person weak, they reveal what strength he has. What was that noise? Is that dog around here?

Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love It is a proud thing to dive into danger, and it is a proud thing to battle with untold horrors, but it is also wretched to have an abundance of intentions and a poverty of action, to be rich in truths and poor in virtues.
Gallito Mescalito ¡¡SSHRRIIIEEEEKK!!
Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Squeaky Kitty Toy Dat's not right, boid! When da heck did Koikagahd evah say dat?

Mighty Moose of Vermont My antlers are huge!
¡El Penguino! Hey! You're not quoting Kierkegaard, either! You're messing up this weirdo presentation. What's wrong with you?

Señorita Chompita Wiggletail, the Cutest Dog in All the Americas™ The question is never one of understanding, comprehending; it is a matter of doing what one understands, and the thing that a person actually ought to do is always easy to understand.
Bunrab, the Filthiest Toy in the House Hey! The use of force is in league with injustice. Perpetuating injustice and in hasty impatience to want to protect oneself through force against injustice are essentially the same thing. Stay away from me! AT BEST there is an entirely accidental difference - the suffering party ONLY LACKS AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMMIT INJUSTICE!!! NO!! DON'T GRAB ME!!!

Señorita Chompita Wiggletail, the Cutest Dog in All the Americas™ Grrrr!! how strange that the most coveted good in the world is independence, yet almost no one covets the only way that truly leads to it: SUFFERING!
Bunrab, the Filthiest Toy in the House AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!! At the hour of death there is only this one consolation, that one has not avoided opposition, ouch! BUT HAS GONE THROUGH IT AND PERSEVERED!!! OWWW!!!
Señorita Chompita Wiggletail, the Cutest Dog in All the Americas™ if a doggy toy is actually to be an instrument of God´s will (and what are the chances of that?), then God must first of all take his will from him. A fearful operation!!!

Everybody, in one voice Authentic religion has to do with passion, with having passion. Sadly, there are thousands who take a little something out of religion, and then dispassionately"have religion." Oh, and Longing is the umbilical cord of the higher life!

A Quiz


My friend Raju sent me this video of an Egyptian invention. I could use something like that!

Friday Random Top Ten

Are these guys cool or what?

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

1. Lean On Me Kirk Franklin and the Nu Nation Project (Featuring Mary J. Bilge, Bono, R. Kelly, and Crystal)
2. Blackout David Bowie
3. A Little Rain Tom Waits
4. Missa Aeterna Christi Munera Sanctus: Credo (Palestrina) Oxford Camerata, Summerly
5. O Cruor Sanguinis (Hildegard von Bingen) Sequentia
6. Throw Yo Hands Up Kirk Franklin and Toby Mac
7. Love Has Found A Way Spirit
8. When I Write The Book Nick Lowe
9. Climbing Up The Walls Radiohead
10. Escondite Inglés Shakira

Señor Shuffle was in a religious mood this morning; two Kirk Franklin pieces combined with some Palestrina and Hildegard von Bingen. Kirk has an All Star Cast on that first piece. I really like everything on this list and the number by Spirit was a big surprise; once again, I didn't know I had that on the iTunes and, once again, I blame Eric Jackson. When he comes for dinner on Thanksgiving he always brings lots of cds and loads them on the computer. It takes me days to go through what he's loaded but it's always worth it. Too bad there's no YouTube video for the song.

Waddaya listening to? Please post your lists in the comments, if you feel so inclined.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Caption Competition

As several of you know, I was in a band with Matty Boy called The Wonders of Science muchos años pasados. One of the radio stations which would actually play our stuff was KFJC-FM in Los Altos Hills. CA. Being a college station, they did (and still do) fund raisers. In them days Matty Boy was a big-time Game Designer at Activision and was generous with his wealth (he's still very generous, just not wealthy), and he made a big ass donation to said station, winning a Dream Date with DJ Teresa Trash. The Lovely Mona, Not-Yet-Padre Mickey, Travis Hunt and Annie Bennett went along as chaperones (featuring Tommy Toonz as "The Driver"). This was sometime in 1983. It was quite the evening, with KFJC types coming and going during the dinner. I don't remember where we went or what we ate. If Eric Predoehl of The Louie Report (and all things Louie Louie) hadn't been there taking photos I probably wouldn't even remember that this ever took place, but here is the proof!.

Two photos from That Wonderful Night are below. Can you find Matty Boy, the Lovely Mona and Not-Yet-Padre Mickey?
Also, I promised Eric I'd help come up with Funny Captions, but, unless the photos contain Bishops, or Knick-knacks and Dog Toys dressed as Bishops, or Red Mr. Peanut Banks and Gallito Mescalitos, I'm just not clever enough to come up with much, so here's yer big chance! Hep a bruthah out!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday Miss Bebé, The World's Most Beautiful Granchile™ Blogging

As you may know, Sunday was Mothers Day in the U.S.A., and Miss Bebé and her parents attended services at St. Mark's, Berkeley, with los abuelos. After church we went to lunch at Jupiter restaurant. They serve Big Honkin' Salads, which is what the Lovely Mona eats, so it was a great place for lunch.

Miss Bebé amused herself by coloring in her coloring book. She grabbed the lemon from my ice tea and tried to eat it, but found it less than pleasant and tossed it back in the glass. Water for me! She had what we called "chicken-on-a-stick" which was pretty much satay. She was more interested in the sticks than the chicken, but she ate some. I gave her my pickle. She took a taste and let loose with a big ol' razzberry! We are under the impression that she is not fond of bitter or sour tasting foods.


Daddy preparing to pick up Miss Bebé, but, really, doesn't it look like they're dancing?

A portrait of the Artist as a child


Hey, guess what? I saw
Padre Harry Allagree
at Chapel at C.D.S.P. today! We had a nice talk and hope to get together next week. I'm meetin' lotsa bloggahs!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Everybody sing!

M is for the Many things she gave me. . .
O is for the Other things she gave me. . .
T is for the Thousand things she gave me. . .
H is for the Hundred things she gave me. . .
E is for Everything she gave me. . .
R is for the Rest of the things she gave me. . .

Put them all together they spell MOTHER
The one who means the world to me!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom (and the Lovely Mona and Tara and Anne and all the muddahs out there)!

Muchisimas gracias a Madeline Kahn

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Feast of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop and Theologian

The following is my sermon for the Feast of Gregory Nazianzus

Almighty God, you have revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like your bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

Today we remember Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop and Theologian. He was one of the Cappadocians, three men who were very important in the battles between the Arians and the catholics. Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea, and his brother, Gregory of Nyssa, all preached and wrote against the Arians and helped develop the orthodox understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity and the place of the Second Person in the Holy Trinity.

Cappadocia is an area in the nation we now call Turkey. Gregory was born in the town of Nazianzus, an obscure little place in the southwest of Cappadocia, a place which Gregory called “dull and unpleasant with few inhabitants.” Gregory’s father was a priest with a sect called the Hypsistarians, a group which reserved their worship for “the Highest.” This sect was heavily influenced by Zorastrianism, and the Hypsistarians kept symbols of light and fire on their altars. Gregory’s father was called an “illumined priest.” Gregory’s mother, Nonna, was a Christian, and spent many hours praying for her husband’s conversion. Apparently, the Hypsistarians used the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, because one night Gregory’s father dreamed that he was singing the first verse of the 122nd psalm: “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.” This dream urged him towards conversion to orthodoxy. What is strange is that this Hypsistarian became the bishop of Nazianzus. He was a relatively wealthy man of noble birth, owning much land. He built a church and was known for his generosity and gentleness. Nonna used to spend a lot of time in front of the altar of the church, gazing and praying, and when Gregory was born she dedicated him to God, much like Hannah dedicating Samuel to the Lord at Shiloh.

Gregory had a mystic, religious bent from an early age. He had a dream one night of two women who appeared at his bedside. They were dressed in white robes with veils which did not hide the brightness of their eyes. They told Gregory that they were Purity and Chastity, companions of Jesus, and that he should join his spirit with theirs, and then they vanished. This dream affected him very much and renewed his dedication to God. He decided early in life to become a man of letters, in fact, he had dreams of becoming a great Christian Orator. At the age of 13 he went to Caesarea to study, and it was there that he met his life-long friend, Basil. Gregory excelled in rhetoric and went on to study in Alexandria, Egypt, the city where Anthanasius was Patriarch. Alexandria was an intellectual center of the Greco-Roman world, and it was also one of the nerve-centers of Christianity. But Gregory’s desire to be a writer led him to leave Alexandria for Athens. On the way to Greece, the ship he was on was caught in a storm and almost lost off the coast of the island of Cyprus. The storm lasted for twenty-two days, and when they ran out of fresh water on board, most people on the ship were sure that they were done for! Those were the days when many people waited until they were near death to be baptized, as they were worried about committing sins after baptism, and Gregory, at the age of 17, was no exception. The storm had him terrified that he might die without being baptized, and in the midst of the storm he tore off his clothes and threw himself on the deck of the ship, weeping and promising that, if their lives were spared, he would devote himself to God. He prayed that God would give him “the gift of spiritual water from the deadly waves.” Soon a Phoenician ship came to them and supplied them with water and food, and the storm finally ended. Gregory studied in Athens for fourteen years, and his friend Basil joined him there. Another friend and classmate was Julian, the emperor-to-be. At that time Julian was a Christian, but by the time he became emperor he had converted to Paganism, partly due to his disgust with the politics of many Christians in the court of Constantinople. Gregory, Basil, and Julian would engage in debates with students from all over the Greco-Roman world, establishing the rhetorical power of the Cappadocians. At the age of thirty, Gregory left Athens for Constantinople, to visit his brother Caesarius. The brothers decided to return home to Nazianzus to visit their parents, who were getting quite old. Gregory decided to remain in Nazianzus and care for the folks. He seemed to lack any ambition; all he wanted to do was to read his books. He had already taken a vow of chastity, and now he added a vow of poverty. He slept on the ground, wore rough clothes, and ate only bread and salt and drank only water. He spent half the night in prayer and meditation, and spent his days supervising his dad’s estate, complaining about managing the slaves. He was a poor overseer because his heart was not in it. He and Basil kept up a correspondence, and Basil invited Gregory to join him in a monastery he was forming. He and Basil lived as monks for two years, and then Gregory returned once again to Nazianzus to continue his studies and writing. It was the year 361 and Gregory had returned to a town torn by the fights between the Arians and the catholics. Those with long memories remembered the Hypsistarian past of Gregory’s father, who was now bishop of Nazianzus, and they claimed that he had departed from the True Faith™. Gregory returned home to find a mob of monks ready to kill his father! He made a speech defending his father, which brought peace to the town. If a person was to become a priest in those days, they didn’t go before the Commission on Ministry or the Standing Committee, and they didn’t discuss their “call” with various groups. The people were the Commission on Ministry, and they grabbed whomever they thought should be a priest, dragged them before the bishop and had them ordained. That Christmas, the people of Nazianzus grabbed Gregory, dragged him before the bishop (his father), and demanded that he be ordained. Gregory was not prepared for this event; he had no desire to be a priest. He felt unworthy to be a priest. On the Feast of the Epiphany, he fled to his friend Basil in Ibora, where he stayed until Easter of that year. Basil convinced him that ordination was God’s will, and he returned to Nazianzus, where he delivered a stirring sermon on “the Despair of Being a Priest.” For Gregory, being a priest was serious business; he believed that a priest “must be cleansed before cleaning others; himself become wise that he might make others wise; become light before he can give light; draw near to God before drawing others near.” Gregory decided to submit to God’s will and work in Nazianzus. In the year 370 Basil became bishop of Caesarea. He wanted to move quickly against the Arians; he appointed his brother Gregory bishop of Nyssa, and ordered his friend Gregory to become bishop of Sasima, a little town twenty-four miles from Nazianzus. Gregory hated Sasima, and described it as “a detestable little place without water or grass or any signs of civilization. Here is nothing but dust, noise, screams, groans, petty official, chains and instruments of torture, and the population consists entirely of commercial travelers and strangers.” This appointment and the arguments between Basil and Gregory brought their friendship to the breaking point. Gregory decided to stay in Sasima only as long as he could do some good. He eventually returned to Nazianzus and served as Bishop Coadjutor to his father. He suffered two great blows not long after his return to his home town; both his sister and his brother died, one after the other. Then the new emperor took Nazianzus off the list of official cities and decided to level the town and build something else in its place. Gregory had to face down the troops, who were finally called off. Then his father died, and soon after, his mother Nonna. Then, making matters even worse, Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, died, and Gregory was devastated, since he had not repaired their broken friendship. Gregory retired from the world, working quietly on his fathers estate. Once again, he had no direction, no ambition, no desire to do anything. Nowadays we recognize symptoms of depression. He described himself as “a dead leaf floating in the stream.” Bout out of that dark night of the soul came a revived Gregory. He moved to Constantinople once again and began delivering sermons, which were well-received. The churches of Constantinople were filled with Arian clergy, but Gregory’s anti-Arian sermons were what the people wanted to hear. They proclaimed to the new emperor, Theodosius, that Gregory should be Patriarch of Constantinople, and the emperor agreed, appointing Gregory Patriarch of the capitol city of the Roman Empire. He only held the position for a few months; one of the canons passed at Nicea, a canon designed to defeat ambitious bishops, stated that the bishop of one See could not be transferred as bishop of another See. The emperor had forgotten about this canon, but Gregory’s enemies had not, and they worked to have him deposed. Before leaving Constantinople, Gregory wrote his great work on the Trinity, The Oratorio. Gregory left Constantinople and returned once again to Nazianzus, where he remained, writing his treatises. He remained on his father’s estate, but at times he would retire to a cave in the hills, where he would pray and mediate and sleep on a piece of sackcloth, befriending the animals who would visit the cave. In the year 389, when he was around 60 years old, Gregory died on his father’s estate. Except for a few small bequests, he left everything to the poor.

Gregory received the titles the Divine and the Theologian in the Eastern Church. He was a person who bowed to God’s will for his life, whether it was to become a priest or a bishop against his will or to defend the faith against he powerful Arians. He gave up the ecclesiastical throne of Constantinople, even though he really believed he was called to be their bishop, because he respected the laws of the Church, something I wish more of the current bishops on all sides would consider. And because he was willing to submit to God’s will instead of his own, he made a difference in the world, and that is why we remember him to this day.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Hello everybody! We've been doing a bit of visiting this week.
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love That's right, Gallito Mescalito! Ever since we arrived in the U.S.A., Padre has been dragging us around to meet folks.

Red Mr. Peanut Bank This week we met two people AND a new character has been added to our Troupe!

Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!

Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love Here we are at the Holy Land restaurant meeting that Ever-popular Commenter on Anglican/Episcopal blogs, Susan S., also known as Susie Sue!
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank A wonderful meal was enjoyed by the humans at our table, and then. . .

Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love. . . we met The Hedgehog!
Gallito Mescalito ¿Shriek? ¡¡Shriek!!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Well, we don't know her name. Padre wanted to name her Spiny Norman, but he wants to call EVERY hedgehog Spiny Norman.

Gallito Mescalito¡¡Shrieky-shriek!!
Nameless, at the moment, hedgehog What? I don't understand you.

Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love Right again, Gallito; we should ask the hedgehog what her name is. What is your name, sweet hedgehog?

Nameless until this moment, hedgehog My name is. . . Ima!

Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love Ima Hedgehog? HA! Great name!
Ima Hedgehog What's your name, big red thing?
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Well, I'm Red Mr. Peanut Bank, of course, and this is Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love, and that's. . .

Red Mr. Peanut Bank . . . the World Famous Gallito Mescalito!
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Ima Hedgehog I don't understand him. Are you sure he's World Famous?

Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love Of course he is! Look at this mola behind us; he's so famous he's on there twice!!
Ima Hedgehog Well, okay. So, I'm very happy to meet you all.
Red Mr. Peanut Bank And we're all happy to meet you and welcome you to our Friday Night Gang.

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Next we went to the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and met Another Famous Episcopal Blogger. . .

Everyone in one voice Kirstin! Look how happy she is!
Kirstin I am very happy to meet you all. You're all so cute!

voice off-camera Hey, Kirstin! Who are your strange little friends?
Kirstin It's the Boyz and the Hippo!
voice off-camera You've got toys on the table!!
Kirstin Why don't you go eat some pie? There's some really good apple pie over there.

Kirstin Sheesh! Some people! So, it's nice to meet you all, but Follies is about to start. Maybe you guys should get back in Padre's bag.
Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love Well, it's wonderful to meet you, too, Kirstin. Break a leg in your skit tonight!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Yes, Kirstin, it was great to meet you and you have a great evening. Who knows who well meet next?

Narrator, appearing suddenly, yet off-camera nonetheless Yes, who knows who the Gang will meet next week? Will more New Characters be added to the Troupe? Be sure to check in next Friday, Same Dance Party Blog, but probably not the Same Dance Party Time!
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!

I See You!

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