Tuesday, June 30, 2020

No end in sight


That link will take you to me reading my blogs on youtube.

(The opinions here are mine and mine only.)

The Covid-19 virus is wrecking havoc in the South and South-west and California.

Opening too fast was a drastic mistake. Beaches will be closed for July 4. Bars will be closed indefinitely. There is no end in sight to this pandemic in the U.S. Other countries have done much better because they have had strong central government control. But not us.

The President has waved a white flag of surrender to his 'war time presidency'. That's what Joe Biden said today.

Leaving openings to the states was a grave mistake and now we pay the price.

CT has done a great job! But many other states have not. We have more cases and more deaths than any other nation. No leadership from the  White House, none at all.

I'm wearing a tee shirt right now that shows a flying saucer over the White House. The flying saucer is reporting back to where it came from. "No signs of intelligent life", is the message.

I'm going to do a graveside funeral for a member of one of the churches' aunt on July 11. I won't be able to hug the family or even touch them. And we will all have on masks. The woman was 93--a good long stay on this earth--and never had to leave her home.

It will be an odd and strange service.

And there is no end in sight for this pandemic in the US.

God help us.

I mean that sincerely: God help us.

That may be all we have left to sustain us.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Crossing state lines


(All the opinions here are mine and mine only.)

The link above will take you to my reading of my blog on YouTube.

I go to Waterbury Hospital every two weeks on Tuesday to get two shots of Zolaire, which is a drug that has changed my life. It is for my asthma and has kept me from having asthma for over 3 years now.

The day before my appointment, the hospital calls to make sure I have no Covid symptoms, which I don't.

However, today they asked if I'd been out of state. When I told them of our trip to North Branch, NY, I was told I should be quarantined for two weeks and changed my appointment until July 9!

I had no idea of that rule. We only saw Mimi, Tim and Eleanor. We encountered no other people. Even at the rest stop we wore masks and were never withing 10 feet of someone without a mask.

I should have lied--but I don't lie convincingly.

This pandemic is being taken seriously by health professionals.

But not by our President.

He still acts like it's not here.

Our Vice-President did say some good things about masks and social distancing, but shortly after attended a packed church with an un-masked choir of a hundred singing their lungs out. Everyone there were shoulder to shoulder and without masks.

Biden is doing the right thing--setting an example by wearing a mask and only taking it off to speak when he is yards from anyone else. And everyone attending his small gatherings is masked and keeping social distance.

That's what we need--someone to lead by example--not people who eschew the right things to do.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Thunder and rain


(The thoughts and opinions in this blog are mine and mine only.)

The thunder rolled across the sky all day. An occasional flash of distant lightening.

It rained over and inch, which, added to yesterday's rain, began to wet the dry earth after a warm and mostly rain-less June.

Church on zoom was good today. It lasted longer because people stayed on line to talk for quite a while.

Very odd and somewhat troubling times.

I also did some blogs for youtube today. The link is at the top for those from last week.

I tried to talk about unity in my sermon, unity in spite of our polarizing politics.

Some of the people in the churches really disagree with me political. Yet we are able to be unified in our faith. That gives me great joy.

With the pandemic and the protests--either of which would be hard to bear--it is hard not to be ripped apart over politics.

But we need to count our breaths and calm our hearts.

We are loved by God and we must love each other.

We must be One in the Spirit if not at the ballot box.

Calm and shared peace is what we need in these oh so difficult times.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Two other things

Two other things from my long conversation with Eleanor about the news.

One of Arie's guests was a black rapper with a shirt on that said "Kids Rule".

Eleanor. read 'Kids" (at not quite 4) and asked what the other word was. When I told her, she said she didn't belong in that.

I asked her why she thought that.

She replied, "I'm white and he's black. He means black kids."

I told her, "No, the shirt means all kids--Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, African. Kids are the future. All kids Rule."

She thought about that for a long time and then said, softly, "OK".

Then Joy Reed had three congressional black caucus on her panel, two woman and a man.

Eleanor asked, "Why are there three women and only one man?"

I told her, honestly, "Because we need to listen to women. Men have messed things up. Women will make things right."

She thought for a while and said, "I like that."

Lordy, Lordy, what a child!!!!

The trip and visit

We got back from visiting Mimi, Tim and Eleanor in North Branch, New York this afternoon.

It's a house they bought last fall, long before the virus hit, and they've been there since NYC shut down, safe and isolated. North Branch is basically no where. They found the house because friends of their from Brooklyn/Manhattan owned the house next-door. By next door, I mean 200 yards down a two lane highway with mountains on both sides.

When we were getting close, our first visit, Bern said, 'this is West Virginia'.

And it was--narrow valleys between towering mountains, tiny roads, rural as hell.

Their back yard is literally a mountain. There is only a few feet between the back of their house and a steep, heavily wooded mountain. They own a good deal of the mountain, but it is almost impossible to climb and full of ticks.

Eleanor has had a bunch of ticks since they've been there and is on antibiotics for her latest bite.

But it is a lovey 1890's farm house with little strange details and sliding barn doors as the doors to some of the rooms. And it is safe and isolated in this time of pandemic.

Mimi and Tim are working mostly from home. Tim works for Linked-In and probably would never have to go to his office in the Empire State Building. Mimi works for an Architectural Magazine and has to go the NYC for a day or so every week. It's a 2 to 4 hour drive, but only occasionally.

They are both so bright and wondrous I couldn't explain more than that.

Eleanor, who will be 4 in August, is so smart and funny an entertaining and happy.

It's that last word that gives me joy to fill my heart. She is so happy!

Tim and Mimi are raising a happy girl, God bless them.

I was watching the news on MSNBC on Friday early evening and Eleanor came to ask me why. I told her I wanted to know what was happening, it was important to me. She said the news was boring. We had a 20 minute conversation about news being important and boring as she asked question after question about Arie Melbourne and Joy Reed. Amazing for a not yet 4 year old.

It took us longer to go than to come back. Why is GPS not consistent? Going we got off 4 lanes about 30 miles from their house and followed Rt 52 through White Sulfur Springs (2 other reasons it fell like West Virginia: Rt. 52 is a main drag in WV and White Sulfur Springs in the Resort FDR made famous.)

Coming back, we got on 17 E., a four lane road  five miles from their house, that went all the way to I-84, which brought us to Cheshire in just over 2 hours. It rained every mile of the trip.

The only time is drizzled, we stopped at a rest stop to pee. Other times it rained so hard I would have pulled over if I could have seen the shoulder!

A great time, in spite of that.

We love them so....

Thursday, June 25, 2020


My uncle Del, my father's brother, owned the Esso station in Anawalt, where I grew up.

His full name was Adelbert. Go figure. His three brothers were my dad, Virgil, Russel and Sidney. Not names on the top 100 lists these days

I used to work in Russel's H&S grocery store, next to the H&S dry goods store. Uncle Del's Esso (not Exxon, not then) was just across the road.

The office of the Esso station was always full of men of both races, sitting around a revolving fan in the summer and a pot belly stove in the winter, gossiping, telling jokes, laughing about being together.

I remember when the gas price went above a dollar. People whined and complained and threatened to go to Flake Martin's Gulf station instead.

Gasoline above a dollar was a shock!

Today, I went to get gas at the Stop and Shop Service Station. I had a credit of $1 a gallon on my Stop and Shop card and got to fill up, for the first time in a month, for $1.03 a gallon!

It made me think about Uncle Del.

The Bradley's did not reproduce a lot. Del's daughter was an only child, as I was. Sid had a boy and a girl. Russell had no children. There sister, who died when I was a child, had two boys.

I was the only only child on my mother's side. Aunt Georgie had two, Aunt Juanette had four and Uncle Graham had 8.

Two very different families, in every way.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I haven't done this for a while...

The Mastery Foundation, for which I lead workshops in normal times, gave, several years ago a plastic box full of hundreds of quotes. I sometimes share them here to give you things to ponder and wonder about.

Pondering and wondering, I think, defines who we are.

So here we go. Just ponder and wonder.

"Never mistake a clear view for a short distance." --Paul Saffo

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious." --Brandon Gill

"It ain't what you don't know
 that gets you into trouble.
 It's what you know for sure
   that just ain't so."   --Mark Twain

"Love is a great beautifier."  --Louisa May Alcott

"For myself I am an optimist--it does not seem to be much use being anything else." --Winston Churchill

"The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you've gotten the fish, you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit; once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning; once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?" --Chuang Tzu

"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those I love, I can: all of them make me laugh." --W.H.Auden

"The truth may well be even more difficult to relate than it is to find." --Albert Murray

Take a while to ponder each of those....


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Random Thoughts

Sitting on our back deck just now, I realized the house behind our back yard isn't visible through all the foliage between us. I can see lights at night, but in the daylight they don't exist--and we don't exist to them.

A little like this strange time we're living in. Others aren't quite there.

The tip of my little finger on my left hand, the one that types a q and z bends away from my other fingers. Arthritis, I suppose.

I wear copper tone braces on my knees--operation on the right one, arthritis on the left one (again). Bern commented the other day that I still had on jeans in spite of the heat. I realized I was embarrassed about my knee coverings (which help enormously). I've worn shorts every day since she said that.

To hell with embarrassment.

I am almost immune to being surprised at the president's lies. But the one about 'testing' being the problem and wanting to test less did me in. All his spokespersons said he was 'kidding' or 'tongue in cheek' but then this morning, leaving for Arizona, he told reporters, "I don't kid".

Yet 4 medical doctors involved in fighting the virus said, to a House Committee, they hadn't been told to 'slow testing' and that more and more testing is the key to controlling the virus.

Alas and alack.

Going to see Mimi, Tim and Eleanor has me a bit anxious. If I admit it, this whole pandemic has me a little anxious. I believe I should admit it and deal with it.

I pray hard that the demonstrations will matter and real change will occur.

But that will only happen if the Democrats win the Senate and the White House. Please Vote in November.

We have curtains over the door to my office and the door to the TV room to keep the cool air from AC in. Brigit will go through them some, but not other times.

She is such a damaged and timid dog. We love her so, so much. Little by little she comes back, but not all at once.

Monday, June 22, 2020

I'm sending you this again

The day after Father's Day I need to tell you that my father was a racist.

Not overt, since he had to be among blacks in our town and county. But racist, none the less.

The first time he visited me in Charleston, where I served a Black Church, he came into St. James and said, "it doesn't smell like I thought it would."

That kind of racist.

Here's a sermon from not that long ago that talks about what we're going through now.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunday's sermon

6TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST—Emmanuel, Killingworth
            Today we heard the story of Mary and Martha. Martha is fretting, doing chores, cooking and worrying while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and absorbs his wisdom. Martha comes to complain and ask for Mary’s help and Jesus tells her, “Mary has chosen the better part.”
            I won’t ask you to raise your hands, but in the honestly of your heart tell yourself if you are more like Martha or Mary.
            I bet I’m talking to a bunch of Martha’s here today!
            Most of us, most of the time, are fretting like Martha, working on many tasks, not taking time to call out our Mary side and listen quietly to the ‘still, small voice of God.’
            That’s what we need to do, especially in these times: sit and listen for the wisdom of Jesus.
            I’m going to tell you about my upbringing a bit, because it will lead me to what I want to say later.
            I grew up in the southern most county of West Virginia, McDowell County. If you’re from there you say ‘MACK-dowell’ instead of Mac-Dowell. There were about 100,000 people in an area larger than Rhode Island—about half Black and half White.
            Though half the people in my little town were African American, I knew only two of them by name: Gene Kelly, who worked in my uncle’s grocery store and his wife, Delia, who was my uncle’s housekeeper and cook. But many of the Black adults and a good number of the kids knew my name since my two uncles owned a grocery store, a dry goods store and the Esso station and my father sold them insurance.
            I was never in a classroom with an African American until my senior year of high school though it was over a decade after Brown vs. The Board of Education. The next year the two separate school systems were going to merge, so Gary District High sent 6 students to be in my senior class: three talented male athletes and three very smart females to smooth the way. They weren’t allowed at the prom, so I didn’t attend either.
            I was good friends in college with a young man who graduated from Gary District. He would introduce me to his friends by saying, “Jim and I went to different high schools together!”
            And it wasn’t just race. When I was leaving Anawalt Junior High to go 12 miles down the road to Gary High, our Principal addressed the 9th graders. (Anawalt was almost completely Anglo Saxon, and Black of course, but almost no people of other ethnic origins.) Principal Ramsey told us (please excuse the language but I want you to hear what he said): “The Hunks and Tallies and Pollacks down at Gary aren’t going to accept you. You will be shunned.”
            A man with a Master’s Degree told 14-year-old kids that!
            It was a dark and racist time for me growing up. Which brings me to another place—today our country seems to be moving back toward those time instead of toward more diversity and more inclusion.
            Attacks against Muslims and Jews are way up from 5 years ago. Hate crimes are increasing. White Nationalists and Neo-Nazi’s are bolder and more public now. Immigrants and even ethnic people born in this country are more fearful than they had been. Human beings fleeing, in most cases, for their lives are separated from they children and held in cages along the southern boarder.
            I’m not talking about policy disagreements. In a democracy, there are always policy disagreements—it is a sign of the strength and health of the democracy. I’m talking about the violation of basis human rights—rights all of God’s children should expect in ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’.
            Martha work is needed to correct all this—but Mary work is needed more. We need to sit with God and ponder God’s wisdom and wonder how things have gone wrong. Before Martha gets to work, Mary must drown out the rhetoric and the noise and ponder the will of God, seeking guidance for the work to be done to insure ALL PEOPLE a part of the Dream of this great and good land.
            So, let your Mary side ponder our plight so her wisdom can guide the work our Martha side has to do.     Amen.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day

Both Josh and Mimi called to wish me a happy one.

Josh put his phone on speaker so my Bradley-girl granddaughters could talk with me.

I have trouble hearing on speaker phone and when I told Bern she went into a long explanation about how I need to get hearing aids. It's not a conversation I enjoy and it went on too long.

We're actually going, next Friday and Saturday to see Mimi, Tim and Eleanor. I'm not sure how long it will take to get there and I have to get Sunday church and my sermon squared away before we go.

I think about my father this day.

He was a hero in many ways: landing on Omaha Beach on D-day, fighting across France to Germany with General Patton, caring for my mother and both their families and me.

But, he always doubted himself, wondering if he were good enough or smart enough or worthy enough.

He only finished 8th grade and my mother had a Master's Degree. So he felt deficient there. And mom's teaching made more money than working in his brother's store, or the little bar he ran after that (and left because he had to draw a gun on a drunk men), or his dry cleaning route, or his insurance business, which was his last job.

But he did well in insurance and I clearly remember the night my parents were doing their finances--I was out of high school and home from college--and my father said, with astonishment, "I made more money this month than you!" It was the first time ever.

I wish he hadn't doubted himself so much.

He was a kind and loving and protective father.

I miss him today.

Though my mother never met them, Dad know Mimi and Josh as children. In fact, I brought him to live with  us in New Haven when his dementia began. But he began to wander away and had to go to a home.

I miss him today.

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers and all those who think of your fathers today.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

my family owned slaves

At least that is what my uncle Russel, my father's brother, told me as we were driving with my parents to Waiteville, WV, where my father's family comes from,

I was 12 or 13. My uncle said to my father, "Virgil, stop here", on the dirt road that went on for five miles or so to Waiiteville.

"Jimmy," he said to me, "up on that hill are the graves of the slaves your great-great-grandfather owned. There are eight graves there."

My great-great-grandfather's name was, like mine, James Gordon Bradley.

I didn't know how to process that information.

The first James Gordon Bradley had owned slaves. He lived before West Virginia split from Virginia and became part of the union.

I am still ashamed and horrified that the blood in my body once owned slaves.

All these protests touch me personally. I am part of the problem--my family owned slaves. I ponder that truth.

How can I repent for that?

What can I do to make up for that?

What penitence will absolve me?

I have no idea.

I wrestle with it in my soul.

Where can absolution come from?

That is why I am so completely and totally committed to the demands of the protest.

Finally finding 'equality' in this nation might lessen my guilt for the sins of my ancestors.

I pray it would.

And I pray we do all we can--all of us--to find a road to justice and equality in this nation of ours.

Join me in that prayer and in that movement. Please.

Friday, June 19, 2020


Today is Juneteenth. It marks the day, after the end of the Civil war, when slaves in Texas finally found out they were free. Union soldiers arrived and told them.

The Emancipation Proclamation was two years before, but word of it hadn't reached Texas--no cable news or cell phones or emails, remember.

June 19th has been celebrated by visiting graves, picnics and lots of singing ever since.

It is a day 'holy' to African Americans.

Which is why the President's plan to hold a rally on Juneteenth in Tulsa caused such an uproar.

As did Tulsa, the scene of some of the most vicious racial violence a century ago when whites burned black homes and businesses and churches to the ground and murdered several hundred people.

The President went on Fox News to tell people he had brought knowledge of Juneteenth to the country. The truth was, he didn't know what June 19th was about.

He asked an aid in the White House if they knew what Juneteenth was and she told him the White House staff sent out a press release on June 19 every year celebrating the day.

He didn't know that.

I have held people of color in my heart today (my way of 'praying') and held the protestors there as well.

This could--I said 'could'--be a time of a great reckoning and renewal for our country. Things could change drastically and for the much better.

I pray so. I will do what I can to make it happen, as little as that might be.

I urge you to as well.

We could find the end of the rainbow this time--peace, equality, freedom, hope and wonder.

(The opinions in this blog are mine and mine only and do not reflect on the opinions of the churches and people I serve.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Elsie Flink

When I arrived at St. John's, Waterbury, in 1989, Elsie Flink was already there--well in her 80's--and had been for decades. She was born in Germany or Sweden (I don't remember) and came to this country when she was a young girl.

She had broken her leg and was sitting on the Green when the Rector of St. John's at that time, it may have been John Lewis, who was Rector for 40 years, met her and invited her to church, She came, and stayed.

She was a server in St. John's elderly lunch, serving people years younger than herself, which lasted until the soup kitchen took over the auditorium.

She was in the choir, as well. By far the oldest member.

She was feisty and argumentative, but gentle at her core. I came to love her greatly.

She'd spent decades working at one of Waterbury's watch factories. For years she painted the faces of clocks and watches. Since the  women doing that needed their brushes sharp, they would run them between their teeth, not knowing the paint, to stick to metal, has radium in it. Many of the women died young, but not Elsie! She was a 'radium girl', she would say, and show us how her clothes would lose their color after a few wearings....Amazing.

She lived in an apartment at the other end of the Green from the church, and walked, in all weather to church.

She lived to be, I think, 101.

And lived alone until her hospital stay that led to her death.


Once I was driving her somewhere and though I knew she had serious macular degeneration, she told me stories of the areas we drove through.

I realized she could see out of the side of her eyes and had perfect recall of the places we passed.

The day she died, she told me in the hospital that she would never go into a 'home'. I believed her. As I left, a social worker was coming to talk to her. I asked the social worker what she had come to say and she told me, "I want to talk with her about a nursing home".

I shook my head and smiled. "That will kill her," I said.

The social worker laughed.

When I got back to the church the phone was ringing. It was the hospital calling to let me know Elsie died while the social worker was talking with her.

True to her word--as always--Elsie did what she said she would do.

How many of us can say the same about ourselves?

After her funeral, some members of the parish and I were cleaning out her apartment--she had no family and her only brother had died in WW I! We found weird stuff--Rosicrucian books and even stranger things. I had no idea! We also found pictures and letters pointing to a long tern love relationship with another woman. Elsie, ahead of her time.

She kept her secrets well.

God bless her for that.

I loved her and still think of her.

Elsie, wherever you are, I love you.

(This blog is only my opinions and have nothing to do with the three churches I serve.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

I've been in trouble a lot

As a priest, I'm used to hot water.

The Bishop who convinced me to come back to West Virginia after seminary, though I'd been offered a job at a huge Church in Chicago, Robert Atkinson (rest his soul) had two nick-names for me. "My rogue priest" and "my personal fire starter". (I liked both, by the way.)

I came to Charleston, WV, to serve a mostly Black church, St. James in Charleston. St. James sponsored a day care in Institute, where my son went .The kids exchanged Christmas ornaments and Josh got a strawberry. He was gravely disappointed.

It's still on our tree every Christmas.

Anyway, the chancellor of the Diocese (that's the lawyer for the Diocese) told a colleague, also an episcopalian, that the day care was run by 'uppity Negreas'. And she told me.

I told the vestry of St. James and they demanded that the Bishop fire him.

In a meeting with the Vestry, the Bishop told them the chancellor had said "Negeas", not the N-word and that since the man was from South-Western Virginia that was the pronunciation of 'Negroes' there.

I remember a member of the Vestry filling his pipe--people still smoked in public places back then--while saying, "Bishop, 'negreas' isn't the problem. It's 'uppity'.

The chancellor resigned.

Then, at the next diocesan convention, the bishop gave the former chancellor the 'bishop's medal of honor'. I fainted and fell down on the floor. EMT's interrupted the convention to take me to the hospital. J.F. (St. James' representative) and my friend Jorge were at my bedside when I woke up.

"Pretty impressive," Jorge said.

Bishop Atkinson gave me some of the best advice I've ever been given. I called him one day and said "bishop, is it ok if I....". He stopped me right there. "Jim," he said, "if you ask and I say 'no' and you do it anyway, which you probably will, l have to come down on you hard. If you just go do it and I don't approve, I'll just slap your hand."

Great advice. I've followed it ever since.

Then, years later, at St. John's in Waterbury, CT, I had put in the bulletin--"all are invited to receive communion"--which is what I always said, but writing it down really troubled a member of the parish and member of the choir, who complained to choir members who told me.

I went to him (knowing full well that under 'canon law', only baptized people can receive communion) and asked him about it. He denied he had said it and was angry with me.

A week later I received a letter from the bishop telling me to take it out of the bulletin.

I did, but you see, in my first 5 of 21 years there, I had baptized 5 people who came to the font because they had received at the table. If the font leads to the table, why can't the table lead to the font?

By the way, I never again acted on second hand information. If you have a problem with me, tell me.

Then, years later, I invited Integrity (GLBTQ Episcopalians) to use St. John's as their home.

Three (you guessed it) older white men were furious. A retired priest in the parish was Integrity's chaplain and he sat in on my private meetings with them. They were brutal.

So, with the other priest's advice, I drug the whole thing out into the open in parish wide meetings.

At the first one, one of the most respected members of the parish rose and shook his finger at the three. "My son is gay," he said, "and I am horrified that you think my son is evil."

That ended it.

The three left the parish and one came back with apologies I accepted.

I'm used to trouble.

I'm the 'rogue priest'.

I'm the 'fire starter'.

I like that.

(Everything I write here is 'my own opinion" only and does not reflect on the churches I serve.)

Monday, June 15, 2020

Water walkers all

I was looking through my sermons in my on-line file and came across this one. I was attracted by the title, 'Water walkers all', so I read it.

It's really just notes, not a written out sermon, but I liked the quotes so much I decided to share it. It's from 2014.

And where it says "tell story", I have no idea what story I told.

Preachers don't remember their sermons much. Sermons are 'in the moment' things and slip away rapidly. I always smile and nod when people talk about a sermon I gave 3 weeks ago, but I usually don't remember it. When I give a sermon without a text and Bea asks me to send it do her, I have to do it Sunday afternoon, or I'm clueless!

But I like all the quotes in this outline so much, I wanted to share it.


“The crisis of faith is the crisis of the imagination. If we can't imagine ourselves walking on the water with Jesus, how can we ever do it?” --Denise Levertov at a meeting of poets and theologians.

*Jesus calls us to be water walkers, to come to him on the water.

*tell story.

-Sea of Galilee is really a lake, but the Mediterranean Sea is only 50 miles away. Warm, wet air from the Mediterranean comes in contact with the high places and cold air of the Golan Heights to the East of Galilee and unexpected storms can occur without warning.

-that's what happens to the disciples.

-when they see Jesus walking toward them, they are terrified. But he says, “Do not fear, it is I, do not be afraid.”

What he said in Greek was “ego eimi” which means literally “I am, I am” just what Yahweh told Moses when he asked what God's name was. Those Jews in that boat knew that.

Peter goes for him and sinks.

Jesus asked “Why did you doubt?”

 But it wasn't 'doubt' that was the problem...it was FEAR.

FEAR is our worst enemy...always and every time. FEAR dismantles us, makes us weak and sinks us in the sea.


Comforting our children after nightmares...do not fear, I'm here, don't be afraid

When we walk on the edge, of all the light we have
and step off into the unknown,
we must believe that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for us to stand on
or we will be taught how to fly.

Water walkers for Jesus, stepping into the unknown for God, trusting the Spirit will give us somewhere to stand or teach us to fly.

(The thoughts in all my posts are mine alone--having nothing to do with the 3 rural churches I serve part-time.)

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Patient Zero

My dear friend, Rabbi Terry Bookman is in the hospital in NYC with Covid 19.

We've worked together for well over 20 years in the Mastery Foundation. As our leader, Anne is starting to retire, Terry has taken over managing the Making a Difference workshop which I help lead.

He is a dear and tender man, with great character and a commitment to ministry.

He usually lives out west but comes to NYC from time to time because he has family there.

I don't know how serious he is yet, but he's a fighter.

We sound like the beginning of a joke: 'A rabbi and a priest walk into a bar....'

Which we've done from time to time.

I pray the God we both worship in our own ways will heal him and make him whole.

He is the first person I know well who has contacted the virus. My patient zero.

(The thoughts in this blog are mine and mine alone and not meant to reflect thoughts of the people I serve in MACM.)


Three good things

Two of the churches I serve have decided to wait until after Labor Day to re-open, if then, giving the circumstances then.

The other church vestry has figured out a way to meet remotely tomorrow (Monday) and the Senior Warden says he things they'll do the same.

This proves the three things I've always know about these churches: they are cautious, caring and smart!

"Cautious"--no too quick decisions to regret later. And if caution was ever called for, it is now.

"Caring"--one of the reasons for the caution is because they genuinely care about their members. They don't want to expose vulnerable people whom the love to danger.

"Smart"--we see what rushing back to 'normal' is doing around the country. New spikes of the virus in states that wanted to move quickly. I've always know these folks are smart--this proves it.

So Zoom and FaceTime services for the rest of June, July, August and the first Sunday of September.

It's working well and numbers are still impressive.

And no one has to risk their health and lives.

I love these three churches.

And admire them greatly.

(This blog is my beliefs and should not be thought to be the opinions of all the people in the three churches.)

Chilly nights

I didn't sleep well last night. I kept waking up cold.

Tonight I closed the window by my bed and will use a blanket.

It's already 50 in Cheshire at 9:27 p.m.

I was worried a bit mid-morning because I was chilling. But I put on a sweater and all was well.

Hardly what we think about when we think of June.

I'm glad it's not hot but waking up cold isn't so great.

Plus, I'm on a new medicine--an every three week injection my Oncologist gives me. She warned me it could make me feel quite tired. Today was the first day that it happened.

Not helped by not sleeping well.

Oh, well, closed window and blanket I should make up for it tonight.

(The ideas in this blog are purely mine and not those of the three churches I serve.)


Saturday, June 13, 2020

As the sun passes

Our house in Cheshire, CT, faces north/south. The front faces north, toward Waterbury where I ministered for 21 years. The back faces south, toward New Haven, where I served a church for 5 years before that.

All of which means that the sun passes over us from east to west, every day.

We have two Adirondack chairs on our back deck where we sit and read in warm months.

Works in the morning until the sun lights on the one on the right and then the one on the left.

In the afternoon, the one on the right is in the shade first, then the one on the left.

So, my reading, which I do a lot of in these days, is limited by the sun.

I also remember driving to Waterbury for an evening meeting with the sun setting in my face.

We are surrounded by nature out back.

Birds and squirrels and chipmonks galore. Sometimes a rabbit.

And trees and flowers everywhere.

During his strange time, I have had the time to take it all in.

And it is wondrous.

I hope you are enjoying nature too.

Be still and know.....

Friday, June 12, 2020

A beautiful day in many ways

There was little humidity and lots of sun and a brisk breeze. Just the kind of day to sit on the deck and be joyous.

Too bad everyone didn't see how perfect it was.

The current administration has rolled back Obama-era health protection for Transgendered people in the Affordable Care Act. Transgendered folks will have a harder time getting health care because the new regulations say people must apply for health care as 'their biological gender'.


Plus, Corona 19 cases are increasing in mostly southern states that have re-opened  by not obeying the guidelines outlined by the government.

Plus, there was a photo on Twitter  (since taken down) of Mike Pence at a campaign headquarters with nearly a hundred people standing side-by-side with no masks.

Plus, Tucker Carlson of Fox News said that 'Black Lives Matter' is lots of things, but not about 'black lives'.

On such a beautiful June day, lots of bad things happened.

Oh, and in addition, the president is holding a rally in Tulsa, a site of a great racial group of murders on Juneteenth--the day blacks celebrate as the end of slavery.

We live in a dangerous and confusing world.

Pray for change.

Pray for hope.

Pray for new possibilities.


(The opinions in this blog are solely mine and have nothing to do with the 3 churches I serve.)

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Being honest

A dear friend let me know today in an email that he/she disagrees with my politics.

I knew that fair well.

But her/his concern was that my blog is publicized through the three churches of the Cluster I serve and on their facebook pages.

He/she is right.

She/he asked if I would give a disclaimer about my blog saying 'The thoughts and opinions here are solely mine, not those of the churches I serve'. That's my wording not her's/his.

I'm glad to do that. I may even ask our Cluster Administrator to take my blog off the bulletins and our web guru to remove it from the Cluster facebook.

But, I do disagree with what she/he said in their email--that church and politics must be separate.

I do try as best I can to be non-political in sermons.

But sermons are about God and our lives--and our lives are lived in the political world.

It is, for me, impossible to not, from time to time, offer my thoughts about what is happening in our world and how our God might think about that.

The current and world-wide demonstrations about race in the U.S. can't be ignored.

God has some thoughts on racial discrimination, it seems to me. God has some thoughts about those in charge vs. those they are in charge of. God has some thoughts on love vs. hate. God has some thoughts on equality. God has some thoughts, obviously, on 'the least of these' in our midst. God has some thoughts on loving our neighbors.

So, I will do whatever my dear friend asks: give a disclaimer that my ponderings are  mine and mine alone or stop publicizing my blog with the churches.

But I cannot believe the church and politics must never engage each other.

To do that, in my mind, would deny not only who I am...but who God is.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Giving back

I plan tomorrow to write $300 checks to each of the three churches I serve. I got my pay check today and I'm not doing what they pay me for.

All I do in this pandemic time is a 40 minute or so zoom church and a dozen or so phone calls.

That's not what they pay me for.

I'll feel better about taking the other half of my pay if I give back.

We are people who the virus hasn't affected financially. The church pension fund and social security haven't stopped. We're fine.

In fact, I haven't filled up my gas tank for almost 3 weeks and it's half full. Doing what I'm paid to do by the Cluster I fill it up every week and spend time on the road and see people and buy lunch sometimes. So, I spend money. And I'm not putting my $20 or so in the offering in cash every week.

So, I owe them.

If you're doing ok financially in this time of crisis, figure out who you 'owe'--and pay up.

Pass it on. Pay it forward. Give it to charity or your church or your political party (IF YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT, OF COURSE!!!)

Those of us not affected need to pass it on to those who are.

This is the time to form a habit like that for the future.

That future would be better than what we have today.

Wash you hands. Wear a mask. Socially distance. Pass it on.

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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.