Archive for July, 2004

Everyday Poem

July 27th, 2004 No comments

(Hat tip: Destination: Order)

Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee;
All thing pass;
God never changes
Patience attains
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa of Avila.

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Sabbath Poem

July 26th, 2004 No comments

From A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 by Wendell Berry:

1979: II

Another Sunday morning comes
And I resume the standing Sabbath
Of the woods, where the finest blooms
Of time return, and where no path

Is worn but wears its makers out
At last, and dissappears in leaves
Of fallen seasons. The tracked rut
Fills and levels; here nothing grieves

In the risen season. Past life
Lives in the living. Resurrection
Is in the way each maple leaf
Commemorates its kind, by connection

Outreaching understanding. What rises
Rises into comprehension
And beyond. Even falling raises
In praise of light. What is begun

Is unfinished. And so the mind
That comes to rest among the bluebells
Comes to rest in motion, refined
By alteration. The bud swells,

Opens, makes seed, falls, is well,
Being becoming what it is:
Miracle and parable
Exceeding thought, because it is

Immeasurable; the understander
Encloses understanding, thus
Darkens the light. We can stand under
No ray that is not dimmed by us.

The mind that comes to rest is tended
In ways that it cannot intend:
Is borne, preserved, and comprehended
By what it cannot comprehend.

Your Sabbath, Lord, thus keeps us by
Your will, not ours. And it is fit
Our only choice should be to die
Into that rest, or out of it.

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Frey Reunion 2004

July 26th, 2004 No comments

Some of the descendants of Aaron and Anna Frey made pilgrimmage to West Unity, Ohio today to do the kind of things you do at family reunions of large (over 450), far-flung clans. You know, gorge on potluck food, play “guess the name” and “show off the [grand]kids”, catch up on who’s doing whatnot, etc.

Most of my observations are of no interest to anyone outside that particular circle.

But: there is one thing.

The singing.

I forget, and then I return to another Frey reunion. The singing. A number from The Mennonite Hymnal, a title, and a starting note from a pitchpipe or a piano … and a cappella harmony emerges. From memory this year — other years there have been copies of the hymnal available, this year I saw barely two or three. But the songs (in 4-part harmony) were still there.

The older generations (my father’s and grandfather’s) know the songs, that is. My generation (and younger) do not, for the most part. I know some of the melodies, and a very few of the harmonies. I usually can pull it off if I have the music or can key into a strong voice to follow.

Some of this is probably due to increasing religious diversity as the generations go forward — the family is no longer uniformly Mennonite, no longer shaped by the same church, worship, and music. But this can not be the whole of it. One of the best singers of these hymns is my great-uncle Charles, who is not Mennonite, but a retired Presbyterian minister. I manage as well as I do, and I haven’t been a Mennonite for decades. Younger men and women who I know are cradle Mennonites look about uncomfortably and don’t join in the songs of their birthright. So it appears that the break is generational, not denominational.

I realized later the parallel to what I felt hearing the music again, and not knowing how many more years it has left. I understood how Frodo and Sam must have felt, hearing elvensong passing in the night, being pierced by its beauty yet saddened by the knowledge that this ancient melody is passing out of Middle-earth even as they heard it.

Then Elrond and Galadriel rode on; for the Third Age was over, and the Days of the Rings were passed, and an end was come of the story and song of those times. With them went many Elves of the High Kindred who would no longer stay in Middle-earth; and among them, filled with a sadness that was yet blessed and without bitterness, rode Sam, and Frodo, and Bilbo …

Courage! Battles may be lost, but Mordor shall never triumph.

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Sabbath Poem

July 18th, 2004 No comments

From A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 by Wendell Berry:

1997: I

Best of any song
is bird song
in the quiet, but first
you must have the quiet.

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Spineless Weasels

July 15th, 2004 No comments

The United States Senate consists of 100 Senators.

Yesterday’s cloture vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment had 98 of 100 Senators voting.

Any guesses as to the two playing hooky? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

That’s right! Senator John Kerry and Senator John Edwards.

Wouldn’t want to go on the record before November, would you, Senators?


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Poll: Next Islamic Nuclear State

July 14th, 2004 No comments

And now for something completely different!

For my first try at a web poll, let’s go with an international relations question:

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color: 000000;
background: #F0F0F0;
#dark {
font-family: arial,verdana;
font-size: 11px;
color: FFFFFF;
background: #000000;
color: #ffffff;;
#table {
font-family: arial,verdana;
font-size: 11px;
border: 1px;
border-color: #000000;
border-style: solid;
#but {
font-family: arial,verdana;
font-size: 11px;

Pakistan has already become the world’s first Islamic nuclear state. Which country do you think will become the second?






Current results

Proud Daddy Moment #842591

July 13th, 2004 No comments

So last night, my youngest boy asks me “Daddy, can bears have ‘bear’ feet outside?”

Answer: “Of course, bears always have ‘bear’ feet.” (Cue insane preschooler giggling.)

And my heart swells with paternal pride. He’s just made his very first pun.

Did I mention that he’s only just three (plus two months)? I didn’t think punning was supposed to start that young.

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Your Offerings At Work

July 7th, 2004 No comments

Chris Johnson continues to keep busy keeping worldwide liberal Anglicanism from executing its deathwish while unfisked.

The current doses of silliness come from this Telegraph article reporting that Evangelicals in England may withhold funds over the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John as Dean of St. Alban’s Cathedral.

Canon John’s former boss at Southwark Cathedral, Dean Colin Slee, attacked the threat of financial action.

“Scripture has a lot to say about the misuse of money as a weapon,” he said.

Perhaps God is doing a new thing.

Ease up, Dean Slee, and don’t be such a stodgy old fundamentalist.

[And Scripture is much clearer about certain other matters where “Scripture has a lot to say“, but somehow Dean Slee doesn’t seem to be quite so hot and bothered about them …]

“This is an attempt at coercion. They are highly organised as a lobby group within the Church. This is unscriptural and a misuse of money.”

Oh, my. I can’t decide whether to file this under the category of “pot, kettle, black”, “Big Lieā„¢”, or “it’s an eeeeevil tactic (when conservatives do it)”.

Has any lobby group within Anglicanism (at least in the UK/Canada/USA) been so highly organzied or so successful as the gay lobby? I surely can’t think of one. They’ve provided a textbook example of how to organize to refashion a group in their own image while neutralizing all opposition. It’s impressive, and I admire it in the way that one can admire the effectiveness of, say, the German Blitzkrieg while abhoring the Nazis.

Oh, but that’s different. Organize LBGT committees in every diocese, play hardball politics at convention, and hold an iron grip over personel, and that’s just business as usual. And, of course, the actions of +Ingham, +Bennison, and +VGeR couldn’t possibly ever count as “coercive”.

But, let those who have been on the receiving end of this treatment, after many years finally say “you can have it your way, but not on my dime”, and it’s coercive and oppressive. Scripture has something to say about exactly whose money it is, too — and Deans of cathedrals do not have the first dibs:

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”

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Separated at Birth?

July 2nd, 2004 No comments

John Forbes Kerry and Lurch.

Monstrous Lackey With No Independant Brain and Bad Hair Monstrous Lackey With No Independant Brain and Great Hair

You decide.

UPDATE: Thanks to Dawn Eden for the link and the kind words.

I didn’t think of it all by myself — I woke up to the alarm Thursday set to WJR to hear Paul W. Smith saying the fateful words:

“So, do you think Senator Clinton will be Lurch’s running mate?”

Since I couldn’t get the image out of my head, I decided to share it with everyone else, too.

(The answer is apparantly “no”.)

Dawn Patrol

July 1st, 2004 No comments

Via Mark Shea, I’ve been introduced (virtually) to a very cool blogger, Dawn Eden.

In the last few days, he’s linked to her:

And she gets to write headlines for the New York Post! How excellent is that?! (Other than the fact that you have to be warped enough to (a) live in NYC and (b) actually enjoy it …)

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