Sunday, March 31, 2019

Lost things

Today's gospel left out a bunch of verses. It said (from Luke) Jesus told them this parable and then jumped ahead to the parable of the Prodigal Son--or as I like to say it: The Lost Son.

What was missing was two more parables about lost things--the lost sheep, which the shepherd sought while leaving behind the 99 that weren't lost and the lost coin--where a widow swept her floor looking for her lost coin.

When the sheep and the coin were found, there was rejoicing and celebration, just as there was when the lost son returned home.

Lost things take on a great meaning.

Lost keys cause you to tear the house apart looking.

A lost pet causes you to make posters and call the pound and walk the streets calling.

A lost child is a time of terror and profound worry.

Lost things mean a lot.

And when they are found, safe and sound, we rejoice and celebrate and give thanks to whatever we think of when we think of God.

To me, the shepherd and the widow and the father are stand ins for that God.

It is the 'lost' that God values most of all. It is the 'lost' that God wants devoutly to find. It is the lost coming home that is the root of God's joy.

Think about that.

God worries about the outcasts, the off the grid, the 'lost ones'.

And so, perhaps, should we.

Something to ponder at any rate.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Springtime in New England

It's spring in New England and the sound of chain saws is in the land.

If you don't live up here, you might not know that winter brings down lots of tree limbs and trees.

And Spring is when they're cleared away. Two of our neighbors had tree removal folks for most of yesterday and today someone behind us has had chain saws going for hours.

Spring and Fall are my seasons, but with the chainsaws this season and the leaf blowers in Autumn they are two loud times.

If you don't live in Connecticut, you probably don't know it is referred to as 'the land of pleasant living'. But not with leaf blowers and chain saws it isn't.

And sirens. Cheshire is a town of 30,000 but there are always sirens going off and passing by.

I finally realized a few days ago that since we live half a block from Route 10--the only clear north/south road in the village--police and ambulances have to go that way. If we lived at the bottom of Cornwall Ave. we'd probably seldom hear a siren.

As you age do you get more sensitive to sound?

I have, I know.

It must have been the same when we moved here 30 years ago--but it didn't bother me then.

Live and learn and grow old.

Giving with the wind

(I happened across a poem I wrote  May 9, 2010. The message is suitable for the unstable and wind-blown times we're living in.)

                               Giving with the Wind

Standing on the deck of my good friend's home,
loaned to us for the week,
I watch the so tall trees give with the wind.

Tall, tall, a hundred feet or more,
and sparsely branched and swaying so.

It is Vermont in May. Today it snowed.
The wind swept up the mountain from below
and those ancient pines, moving several feet,
give with the wind.

I drink white wine
and watch them bend and bow and almost dance.

Ageless wisdom, planted in dark soil:
"Resist not. Cling not. Do not rigid be."

Give with the wind. Sway deeply. Bend and dance.
The winds of life, blow as they might, pass on.


Friday, March 29, 2019

It felt like Spring

Today was the first day here in Connecticut that felt like Spring.

I even had gnats--forgot about them over the winter.

Bern worked outside in the yard for hours and gathered more leaves than you can imagine off the places where flowers will soon be in bloom.

And we got to see what Bridget  will be like outside when the weather finally turns.

All good.

Winter wasn't horrible as it can be in New England, but Spring is welcomed.

With open arms and open hearts.

Come Spring, we love you.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

much to ponder

Usually I read a couple of dozen of my Mastery Foundation quotes from the quote box to find 6 or7 I want to share.

Today I took out 10 and am going to share them all. They are so pithy, it's worth reading them twice.

Ponder the wisdom and wit and insights of these.

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What  are you doing for others?
                                                                      --Martin Luther King, Jr.

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."
                                                                     --Bertrand Russell

"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth."
                                                                     --Niels Bohr

"The reason you don't understand me, Edith, is because I'm talking to you in English and you are listening in dingbat."
                                                                    --Archie Bunker

"It doesn't have to always be like this--as long as we keep talking."
                                                                    --Stephen Hawking

"It takes a very long time to become young."
                                                                    --Pablo Picasso

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for Humanity."
                                                                   --Horace Mann

"Not to dream boldly may tun out to be simply irresponsible." 
                                                                   --George Leonard

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
                                                                   --Beverly Sills

"Every man" (and woman) "takes the limits of his" (their) 'own field of vision for the limits of the world."
                                                                  --Arthur Schopenhauer

Those should fill your pondering appetite for a spell....


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

total terror

So, I went to my mostly clergy group this morning and then to Waterbury Hospital to get my Zolair shots. (Which, by the way, have changed my life. Two shots every two weeks block allergens and make me healthy in all seasons.)

I got out my wallet to give the valet parker guys a tip, which I always do and many people don't. Shame on them.

Then, hours later, I was going to the grocery store to get stuff for dinner and couldn't find my wallet.

It wasn't in the coat I was wearing and wasn't in the place I put it and wasn't in my car.

I experienced total terror!

Do you realize how much of our lives we carry in our wallets?

My Medicare and Insurance cards, two credit cards and a bank card, my library card, my driver's license and lots of other stuff.

I was panicked and about to call the hospital to see if anyone found it and turned it in--minus credit cards and cash, of course, when I looked in the bag I take for my shots with my eppi-pen and the book I'm reading and found my wallet.

It's a sign of age that I put it there instead of in my coat pocket and didn't remember doing that.

But my total terror was gone and I was so relieved and so happy.

Getting older is no fun but a lot better than the alternative....

Monday, March 25, 2019

What we know, as of now....

Surprising as it might seem, I'm actually glad the Mueller report (or what we know of it right now) did not find definitive evidence that the President's campaign did not collude with the Russians. I feel a little safer knowing that those in power did not collude in a definitive way with a foreign power to influence the election of 2016.

And I want the whole report, in it's entirety to be released because even Barr (who I don't trust further than I could throw him) admitted the report did not exonerate the President from obstruction of justice. I want to know what the evidence shows. And did 'not exonerate' mean there was evidence enough but Mueller knew he could not indict a sitting President.

So, we have to see it all.

Enough happened that the president shouldn't yet be doing his victory dance.

And there are still investigations by others into the campaign finances and the businesses and other things going on.

It's not over until it's over.

Vince Lombardi said that years ago.

And it still rings true.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

She's gone....

Mimi and Tim came and took Eleanor back to Brooklyn today.

She was a joy. Never cried once--laughed almost always--is very sure 'what she wants to do'--loves and runs with Bridget (though Bridget is much faster)--helped Bern rake the leaves in the back yard--talked non-stop--ate everything we gave her.

What a joy.

What exhaustion!

Bern has been watching TV all evening, half-asleep. She didn't sleep well since she slept in a strange bed with Eleanor.

I'm tired too, but I did about 15% of what Bern did with Eleanor.

She'll stay with me for 10 minutes and then says, "let's go find Grandma".

But like all four of our granddaughters, she is pure wonder.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

She's here!!!

Mimi and Tim dropped Eleanor off about 10 a.m. and then headed up to the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA for a couples night.

We used to drive through Stockbridge on the way to Bennington College to take or bring Mimi. And we stayed there several times.

Lovely place.

So Eleanor is ours tonight.

She loves us both, but Bern is the better playmate so she sticks close to her.

She wanted french fries and an egg sandwich for dinner, which I fixed and she ate. She eats well.

What is still weird is how much she looks like Mimi at the same age. Almost puts me back 40 years.

Same hair and body and even dimples.

She and Bern are sleeping in one of the guest rooms while Bridget and I are going to be in our bed.

She is a delight. So funny and smart--but what grandparent doesn't say that?

But with Eleanor it is true, so true.

Friday, March 22, 2019

It's Mueller Time

The report of Special Council Robert Mueller has been turned over to Attorney General Barr. After almost two years, Mueller's investigation is over.

This will not be a long, involved post.

All I want to say is this: if the full text of the report is not turned over to Congress and made public, this whole process is meaningless.

White House lawyers want a shot at it.

To hell with them. We all deserve to know every word of the report.

That's the bottom line.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

March Madness has begun

Bern gets as excited about the NCAA basketball tournament as she does the four major tennis tourneys. Which is EXCITED!!!

Today's the first full day and she has been watching since noon and will watch until she goes to bed. She filled out three online brackets, for goodness sake.

She pays little attention to the regular season so her brackets are based on gut instinct and guessing. And probably, knowing her, a leaning toward the underdogs.

But what will Saturday when our granddaughter Eleanor comes for an overnight while Tim and Mimi have a trip to the Adirondacks?

Oh, fear not beloved, Eleanor will not be a victim of 'basketball neglect', not by a long shot.

It's two days yet and already I noticed Bern has begun to put out crayons and paper and toys and books in our little fireplace area beyond the kitchen. And I've heard her tell Bridget more than once that "that baby who loves you is coming."

What Bridget makes of that news, I can't tell you.

I gave Bern a little framed saying for Christmas. It reads "I didn't know how much love my heart could hold until someone called me Grandma".

Nothing detracts her from Emma/Morgan/Tegan/Eleanor.


Not even March Madness or the U.S. Open.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Mr. Kelly Ann Conway

George Conway is my hero!

How odd is that--a deeply conservative lawyer is my hero?

But he has so stirred up He Who Will Not Be Named so much that the twitter storm the president has created proves all the thing George Conway says about him!

And I realized today that my insistence not to name the President is not just a Harry Potter reference, it goes along with what the Prime Minister of New Zealand has sworn not to do about the monster who murdered 50 Muslims there.

Could we export her to America and make Jacinda Ardern our President?

I'd write her name all the time.

Jacinda Ardern. Jacinda Ardern. Jacinda Ardern.

I'd use it because she has been so great in this terrible tragedy and because it is a wondrous name.

Jacinda Ardern.

And maybe she could give George's wife, Kelly Ann, some advise on how to deal with White Nationalists like her boss.

Jacidna Ardern, I'm a fan.

(My supervisor at a mental hospital in Maryland when I was doing my summer of Clinical Pastoral Education was The Rev. Don Fergus from New Zealand. If he was telling you he'd be in touch with you he'd say, "I'll knock you up".

I told him he couldn't say that in this country--especially not to Sister Jeremy who was a Sister of Mercy in my group.

Divided by a common language indeed.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


I always thought that as you grew older you would sleep less.

Not true, so far, for me.

I could, but seldom do, sleep 12 hours.

I normally go to sleep after 11:30 p.m. and don't wake up, unless I set the clock, at 10 a.m. or so.

And I love sleeping.

Bern gets up between 7 and 8 and has a couple of hours by herself (with Bridget, of course) and drinks lots of coffee and is ready for me when I get up.

I have dreams much of the time--very pleasant and relaxing. Usually I'm working on something--like a puzzle and getting it more or less right. But it's not a puzzle on a page or in a game, but something very meaningful, though I never know what the meaning is.

Stuff like that.

I could, but seldom do, take a nap as well. But I don't unless I have to get up at 7 a.m. or so.

I love napping too.

I sleep with a C-path machine since I have sleep apnea (however you spell it, my spell check suggested weird replacements.)

I even love my mask and the 14 pounds of pressure it gives me. I never have sinus congestion at night though I often do in the day. Maybe I should figure out how to wear the mask all the time--it would take a miles and miles long extension cord though.

Any way, have a nice sleep and pleasant, puzzle solving dreams.

Good night. Sleep tight. And don't let the bed bugs bite.

Monday, March 18, 2019

country preacher

(Here's something I wrote about one of the priests who were instrumental in the churches I serve.)

          Years ago, an Episcopal priest friend told me he had spent 30 years praying for God to speak to him, out loud and in English, and tell him ‘what to do’. We were having lunch the week he was retiring and moving to an island off of Maine and he told me his prayer had been answered.
          After I picked my folk out of my salad and had a long drink of wine, I said, “what did God tell you to do?”
          He shook his head and smiled. “God told me in an exasperated voice, ‘David, do whatever comes next!’”
          Forty Years a Country Preacher are the sometimes humorous, sometimes somber but always insightful musing of George B. Gilbert, an Episcopal priest who spent his career in rural Connecticut parishes. Gilbert grew up in Vermont but came to New Haven to Berkeley Divinity School and stayed on in the Diocese of Connecticut.
          To call Gilbert ‘a parish priest’ doesn’t do him justice. During his time in the hills of south-eastern Connecticut he was sometimes a farmer, sometimes a barber, often a cook and always a community organizer—even before that term came into vogue. For the first four decades of the 20th century, he did whatever was needed by those he served and those in the communities where he lived that had nothing to do with the Episcopal Church. He doesn’t spend a lot of time in his book ‘doing theology’ but he spent all of his ministry meeting the personal and spiritual and basic needs of those around him. His theology was just what God had told my friend David: George Gilbert ‘did whatever came next’ for his 40 years as a country preacher….
          He estimated he had given 5000 haircuts to the rural poor he encountered. He rode his horse and later drove his oversized Nash over countless country miles to visit the many people he knew in his sprawling parishes. He helped cook and ate dinner (our ‘lunch’, this is in the country, remember) almost every Sunday of his long pastorate. He cut wood for the stoves to cook the dinners and keep the churches warm. He repaired whatever was broken in his church buildings and whatever was broken in the people he served. He steadfastly believed that ‘feeding the body’ of those he met needed to precede ‘feeding the soul’. And for all that he was a passionate preacher, a devout keeper of the sacraments, a man of prayerfulness, if not prayer and one who did all he did with a sense of calling and purpose.
          I’ve been an Episcopal priest since 1976—forty-one years and counting—and deeply admire Gilbert’s attitude toward ministry. I think the ‘doing’ of ministry comes out of the ‘being’ of the minister, and George Gilbert fully embodied his priesthood. He was a ‘priest’ incarnate—occasionally disappointed and frustrated that he couldn’t do more for people, but thorough it all joyful and enlivened to be of service. His stories remind me of the response of Mother Teresa when asked by a cynical reported how she thought she could save India. “One person at a time,” she replied. Gilbert, in his time, lived out that commitment. His presence and energy seemed always totally focused on whoever was in front of him at the moment.
          In my retirement, I have been serving, very part-time, three rural congregation in Connecticut, one of which is Emmanuel Church, Killingworth, where Gilbert became Rector in 1909 and served the rest of his ministry. So, I have some personal experience of the landscape where he rode his horse and drove his car and gave haircuts, and cut wood, and cooked and cooked and brought God to the rural folk. I also admire his attitude toward the institutional church. He was, in many ways, a rebel with a cause. He thought the church was out of touch with the needs of the people he served. And he, in many ways, set his sails against the wind of traditional Christianity.
          Let me demonstrate that by quoting from Gilbert’s own words:
“It is not church form that makes good Christians. The essence of the Christian ministry lies deeper than that and is rooted in human relationships. Too often the theologian doesn’t know how to get along with people. The church cannot fail to be ineffective unless its clergy reach the poor and that can only be done by long and friendly acquaintance in their homes, ripening gradually into mutual affection—a link which brings them finally into the fold.”

          Those are the words of a person who truly understands the nature of priesthood. George Gilbert is that person.
          May his words fill you with wisdom and give you some chuckles along the way!

The Rev. Dr. Jim Bradley (6/16/2017)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

happy St. Patrick's Day

I'm sure I've told you that maternal great-grandfather came from Ireland with his two brothers and they got into such a fight on the boat that they all gave false names at Ellis Island so they could never find each other again.

What you can believe about the Irish is that really can get angry.

And my great-grandfather added insult to injury by telling the folks at Ellis Island that his name was "Jones"--a Welsh name.

St. Patrick was either Welsh or Scottish, historians aren't sure.

And the whole 'snake thing' is unclear as well.

But it's a great holiday--hope you had corned beef and cabbage and soda bread like we did.

On St. Paddy's day,. everyone is Irish--even him....

Saturday, March 16, 2019

cell phones and me

So,. I was supposed to be on a conference call at 1 p.m. and was reading a book (Tami Hogg's The Boy--read it) and was a little late calling in.

Then, when I dialed the number, my phone told me to switch off 'airplane mode' to make a call.

I don't even know how to get onto 'airplane mode' much less how to switch off. But there was a little airplane at the top of my phone and I hit on that and it took me 10 minutes at least, to turn it off and I couldn't tell you how I did it even now.

So, I was late for the call.

I hate my cell phone. I know nothing about it and have no interest in learning.

I'd just like to take it down to West Haven and see how far out in the Long Island Sound I could throw it.

But I need to have it, I know.

I don't get email on it--don't ask me why, I don't know. But that's a blessing since I only want email on my computer where I can look once a day. Just me and my way of coping.

I have a friend who has the exact same phone and figured out how to talk to it and make it do things for him.

I don't know how to make it do that and really don't care that I don't.

I don't even like to talk to our TV and tell it things.

I was meant for a pre-social media time. I know it.

I was meant to write letters and make phone calls--not email and text.

And taking pictures with my phone--I have lots of pictures with my thumb in them and don't know how to erase them.

Or 'delete them'.

I don't even know the language to use.

Hopeless, I am, with my cell phone.

Friday, March 15, 2019

deep breath, calm down.....can't!

So a day after a white nationalist gunman in New Zealand killed 49 Muslims at worship (with more in the hospital) at two separate mosques nine miles apart, our President, talking about his veto of the bill overturning the 'national emergency' at the southern boarder, used the same term the shooter used to describe immigrants in his posted manifesto---"invasion".

Did no one in the White House tell He Who Will Not Be Named not to use that term on this day?

Maybe they didn't.

Maybe they did and he forgot.

Maybe he wasn't thinking straight, being so upset about having to veto something and about the horrible terrorism in New Zealand.

Or maybe he did it on purpose, knowing white nationalists love him, just to wet their whistle for what comes next--more violence and right-wing terrorism.

"Deep breath, Jim," I tell myself. "Be calm, breathe...."

But I can't.

It seems obvious to me that HWWNBN is stoking the fire of white nationalist, not only here, but around the world.

While people in the middle east and South America and Africa are fleeing for their safety and their lives, 'white nations' are afraid and resisting opening their arms to those in danger.

We all came from somewhere else--unless you are Native American (and truth be know, they came from somewhere else just a long time before most of us).

And except for African Americans, we came to 'get away' from something bad. African Americans were brought here 'to something evil'.

This 'white' stuff has to be broken down, thrown away, punished.

Or else this won't be the country we want to live in.

Deep breath.....

Thursday, March 14, 2019


I turned 25 the week my mother died at 63. I was in my 40's when my father died at 83.

They become more and more distant to me each day. I can no longer remember my mother's voice, though I can remember my father's.

I can see them in pictures but not in my mind--not clearly at any rate.

Parents begin to disappear on us. I actually remember my maternal grandmother more clearly than my mother and my paternal step-grandmother more clearly than my father.

Here's something I wrote about them a couple of years ago that (sadly, to my mind) not many people read.\

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Watching time pass

I've outlived my mother by 35 years. I was only 25 when she died at 63, My father died at 83, when I was 43, with two children. I'm 13 years younger than he was when he died.

Watching time pass makes me realize these things.

Being the only child of older (in those days 'much older') parents means that I've lived 37 years without parents.

My mother never knew her grandchildren. My father met them both.

Now I have grand-daughters--four wondrous girls--who will all be with us for Easter. Joy! Wonder! Grace!

All my Aunts and Uncles, a whole host of them--18 in all--are dead too, like Mommy and Daddy (what I always called my parents). Aunt Elsie (my mother's youngest sister) died last year at 90, I think. She came into my mother's hospital room when I was feeding my mother vanilla ice-cream with a wooden spoon and told me "Happy Birthday, Jimmy" (the only name my family ever called me!)

I remembered that as I stood by Elsie's grave.

Time passes.

Those little babies we brought home to Hazelwood Avenue in Charleston West Virginia are 41 and 38 now, both with summer birthdays. And I have Morgan and Emma (11), Tegan (8) and Ellie (8 months and counting) in my family.

We were at the hospital with Morgan and Emma were born. A nurse stopped the elevator at the visiting floor and showed Bern and Cathy's mom and me  them all new and tiny.

Time passes. Inexorably.

But here's something I know and know fair well--there are 'two' futures available as time passes...the one that will happen if you just wait and the one you create for yourselves.

So, as time passes, choose the latter and 'create' your future.

That may just be the only real choice we have in life--to live the future that will happen anyway as time passes or to have a hand in what that future is.

Create your future, as time passes (it always will), by speaking the future you create into being.

Only shot we have to making a difference, making the future matter as more than just 'watching time pass'.....

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

money, money, money

The indictment of several dozen rich parents, several minor sports coaches at prestigious universities and the man who made it possible for the kids of the rich parents to get into the schools they wanted by bribing admission departments and coaches has been front page news.

And the fact that the money was paid to Mr. Singer's fake charity and deducted by the parents on their income taxes as charitable donations just makes it stink all the more of money.

I've admitted before (or boasted, more likely!) that I'm a Democratic Socialist. As if I needed any more evidence of how skewed (and 'screwed') our economic system is, this seals the deal.

I have good friends who are liberals (but not as liberal as me!) who  tell me that someone too far to the left will lose to Trump in 2020. They are cautious.

Frankly, I'd be most comfortable with either Biden or Sanders at the head of the ticket and a younger one of the many other candidates as Vice President with Sanders or Biden promising to serve only one term.

But I do think the arguments for health care for all, free college, guaranteed income, more money for climate change matters and less for defense (though making sure veterans are taken care of) should be part of the Democrat's message.

Let He Who Will Not Be Named rail against "socialism" if he wants to.

Things have to be more economically 'fair' for this to remain "the land of the free and the home of the brave".

Pretending your child is an athlete or paying someone to take their SAT's is a sin. Middle Class and poor people cant do that.

When will we realize that until all are equal, none are equal?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

from a long time ago

(This post is from early on in my blog. But it seems to match the time we were in then except it wasn't the economy but the Trump-amy today. Things feel off kilter in the same way.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

sweet smells of spring

It's raining outside--the first real 'spring' rain--slow and tender and sweet and bringing out the smells of humus and vegetation and trees and the very air.

I've been noticing how anxious everyone is. It may be the economy and our inability to get away from it--don't turn on a TV or radio or go's 'all economy all the time'. And it makes us anxious.

I told someone today, "everyone who is 'edgy' already is over the edge; everyone who was leaning toward 'edgy' has arrived there and those who weren't 'edgy' at all are getting there."

Harriet said to me, after three passing weird calls and a couple of way beyond weird drop-ins, "it's not even a full moon but it feels like it."

If you have no opinion about the full moon affecting human behavior come hang out at St. John's--probably any urban church--for the days before and the days after. I don't follow such things, but I know--really KNOW--when it is a full moon. Things get dicey quick. Folks who are a little crazy get full blown, honkin' crazy. The really crazy get disturbing. Folks like you and me (unless you fit into one of those two categories, which you might...) get anxious, edgy and lose what little inhibitions we have.

Lately, though, is a different deal. Anxiety is running riot through the population and making even the sane a bit nuts. Scott, the Senior Warden, and I talked about it this morning and decided that it is so: something in the ether is freaking people out. In all my years of parish ministry I have never had so many experiences of people on the edge as in the last six months.

I'll tell you what I told both Scott and Harriet--our job is to be what psychologists call "a non-anxious presence" in the midst of this time of anxiety, stress and edgy-ness. I told a committee just a few days ago that they have to resist getting sucked into the craziness of one of our members. Craziness is seductive and energy eating. I think of those creatures in the Harry Potter books that suck life-force out of people. I'm not real adroit at recognizing craziness up front, but when I talk to a crazy person (which I do a lot, by the way) I find myself drifting off to sleep. All my energy gets sucked out and away and I am seduced into the un-conscious level of being.

Maybe spring--in spite of the Stock Market and the Economy and Global Warming and pestilence, plague and war--will bring the smells of the re-birthing earth to us in such a way that anxiety will be overcome. But I doubt it.

We have to keep our heads when all around us are losing theirs. We have to be calm in a time of frantic thinking, we have be be present in a non-anxious way when many are so anxious they're a little crazy.

Go outside. Smell the rain and the smells it calls forth. Spring is coming.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Something is about to be birthed.

Meeting week

I have two meetings this week. One was tonight--the Cluster Council meeting. And tomorrow night is the Cluster Lenten program.

Just between you and me (and whoever else is reading this) I hate meetings.

Tonight, saying not much unless I was asked a question, I figured out why.

Meetings I'm not leading bring out my introverted side. On Meyers/Briggs tests I am about 50/50 as an introvert and an extrovert. Church services, meetings I'm leading and talking to one or two people bring out the extrovert in me. Meetings I'm not leading make me draw back and feel uncomfortable speaking.

I give a 'report' at each Cluster Council meeting and I usually hem and haw a while and say I'm finished. And I'm not leading the Lenten study--another of our three priests is--and I'll be hesitant, I already know, to say much.

Leading meetings makes me an extrovert. Just being 'one of the crowd' makes me an introvert.

I actually like both my extroverted self and my introverted self. But I don't like being an introvert in the presence of other people.

That's for 'alone time'--like reading books and looking at the Internet and walking the dog and, well, writing this blog.

Introvert time is for being alone or with Bern but not talking.

Meetings are difficult when I'm in introvert mode.

Just like that.

I'm glad I finally figured out why.

Monday, March 11, 2019


St. John of the Cross referred to God as "na-da"--or as we would say., "nothing".

What he meant, I think, is that God is beyond language. We can't talk about God because we have no words to have that conversation.

That speaks to me.

Maybe, just maybe, we should shut up about God and just absorb and ponder the silence.

Sounds good to me.

What about you?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

lost in time

I've been blaming the time change for today feeling like Monday.

Then I realized it felt like Monday because I didn't go to church. I know two of the three churches in the Cluster closed because of early snow and ice. Haven't heard about the third.

I often tell people who ask why I became a priest that I knew that would make me go to church.

"Why did you?" by the way is a question no ordained person likes to hear. That's the question  you are asked hundreds of time in seminary--or, in a different tense: "why do you want to be a priest?"

I had a friend in seminary who answered that question by telling an unsuspecting lay person, "I was sleeping naked and lightening came through the window and hit me in my penis and I didn't die. I thought I had to pay God back."

This was at an open house for Episcopal lay folks at Virginia Seminary. We were all sipping sherry and being charming but everyone has a breaking point.

By the way, he pronounced 'naked' "necked" because he was that southern.

Another friend--a seminarian at Yale who worked with me in New Haven--once asked what he should say to the standing committee when they asked him why he wanted to be ordained.

Off the top of my head, I said, "tell them you want to be 'magic'."

He did and they bought it. He's an artist so he make me a pen and ink piece of art I still love based on wanting to be 'magic'.

I'll stick with "it makes me go to church".

That's why I'm still doing this priest thing part time though I'm officially retired and have been getting my pension payments for seven years.

I'm really not sure I'd go to church to sit in the pew. I never go when on vacation.

I do think going to church is a very good thing--so continuing to practice priesthood makes me do 'a good thing'.

That's a good enough reason.

Though 'being magic' isn't bad either....

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Daylight Savings Time

I'm a bit of an agnostic when it comes to DST. I'd probably, if I were in charge, have it in the winter so the days wouldn't end so early.

But Bern hates it.

She gets up earlier than me, so it won't be as bright as usual for a couple of months. And she worries about the lost sleep side effects.

They do it in most of Europe and in some of the southern most countries in South America and in one province of Australia (in the southern hemisphere 'summer' in the last two). But there are some states that don't do it and most of Africa never has.

There are vast areas of Asia that tried it and stopped.

George Hudson, from New Zealand (which uses it--in their summer, our winter) introduced the concept in 1895.

Ben Franklin had toyed with time change but never endorsed it.

There's a fascinating history of DST and lots of disagreement on its value and drawbacks (Bern is far from being the only opponent!).

Look it up and read about the history if you're interested.

All I know--agnostic as I am about it--is that it starts at 2 a.m. tomorrow. Just as the snow is about to begin here.

We're not setting back the clocks tonight to give us the illusion that nothing is changing.

And, because of the weather forecast, St. James has cancelled church tomorrow. It usually starts at 9 a.m. and is 40 minutes away so I would have had to get up at 7 (6 the time it is tonight) which I don't do well. So, I won't set the alarm and will deal with DST tomorrow.

Best to you as time becomes relative....

Friday, March 8, 2019

Lent I

I haven't written my sermon for Sunday yet--but here is an old Lent I sermon.

LENT I 2/14/16

          I walked for many days,
          Past witches that eat grandmothers knitting booties
          As if they were collecting a debt.
          Then, in the middle of the desert, I found the well….

          In the first Century, the Judean Wilderness was called Je-SHIM-mon, which means, literally, ‘The Devastation.’  The wilderness of Judea is an area 35 miles by  25 miles—almost 1000 square miles of devastation. From Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, the desert drops down 1200 feet to the lowest point on the face of the earth.
          The Judean desert is one of the most rocky, empty, inhospitable places you could imagine. It looks more like the Moon than it looks like Connecticut. There is an otherworldliness to that place. The heat of the arid afternoon is brutal, but not surprising—what is surprising is how cold it gets when the sun falls out of the sky like a ball rolling off a table.
          And though rain seldom falls in that place, when rain comes it comes in cloudbursts that flood the wadii’s with such force that human beings can be knocked to the ground and drowned in the desert.

          According to Matthew’s gospel, after Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit led him into the 
Devastation—into the Judean wilderness—to be tempted by the devil.
          Matthew does not refer to Satan as “the Evil One” or “the Enemy”: instead, he calls him ‘o di-ab-oy-os, which means the slanderer…the one who tells lies.  Jesus’ “temptation” is the challenge of slander, of lies, of the “un-true.”
          In English, we tend to think of temptation as something “drawing us into sin or evil.”  But the Greek word is peir-a-zein, which is more akin to “testing” or “trying.”  Peir-a-zein does not refer to a purely negative action. “To be tested” contains the possibility of learning and growing…the chance of finding unknown strength.

          Then, in the middle of the desert, I found the well.
          It bubbled up and down like a litter of cats
          And there was water, and I drank,
          And there was water, and I drank.

          In the midst of the devastation of the desert, The Slanderer tempted Jesus with three lies.
          The first lie was this: personal longings and needs are more important than patience and endurance.
          Jesus was hungry and the devil dared him to turn stones into bread. But Jesus knew it was a lie and grew stronger.
          The second lie was this: quick results and instant success are better than wrestling with reality.
          To leap from the Temple and be unharmed would cause the Jews to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah. Jesus knew it was a lie and learned wisdom.
          The third lie was the most seductive of all: Power and Control will win hearts.
          To worship Satan and rule the world would have let Jesus “control” the people of the world. Jesus knew it was a lie and learned faithfulness and powerlessness.

          Then, in the middle of the desert, I found the well.
          It bubbled up and down like a litter of cats
          And there was water, and I drank.
          And there was water, and I drank.
          Then the well spoke to me…..

          Jesus’ time in the Wilderness is a metaphor for our own journey, our own “testing” and trial and temptation.
          The desert, the Wilderness, the Devastation—it is not ‘OUT THERE” anywhere.  We are not called by Lent into a place “out there….”
          The desert of Lent is a metaphor for the inner journey we are called to make—the wilderness places of our soul we are called to visit and be tested by and drink from.  And the Wilderness is where the Well of God can be found.
          The Light dwells beyond our inner darkness. Life and Hope can only be discovered if we will walk in the Shadow of Death and Hopelessness. There are no short-cuts, no easy ways, no simple answers.
          The Slanderer within us whispers lies. And the way to Truth is through un-Truth.  The Well of God, the Water of Life is in the desert places of our hearts.
          Lent calls us—as individuals and as a community—to self-reflection and prayer. That way is the Wilderness Way. And it is the only Way to Freedom and Life.
          There is no Holy Week without Lent. There is not Easter without Good Friday.
          We live too much on the surface of things. Lent calls us down deep—down into the unconscious life, into the bone and the marrow of life, into the deepest Darkness where the light will truly Shine, into the driest desert where the Well of God bubbles “up and down like a litter of cats….” Where there is water and where the Well speaks to us.
          Then the well spoke to me.
          It said: Abundance is scooped from abundance,
          Yet abundance remains.
          Then I knew.

          Abundance is scooped from abundance, yet abundance remains.
          In the desert of Lent, we will know….we will know…..

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.