Saturday, January 30, 2021

Margorie Taylor Greene

A lot has already been said and written about this Georgia Representative to the House.

She is a Q-anon supporter.

If you want to know what Q-anon folk believe, go on line and look.

They think, to start with that pedophiles and cannibals are in the Democratic Party and T**** was sent to erase them.

Then it really gets crazy!

MTG has, on tape or on line, encouraged the murder of Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, encouraged folks to overturn the government and more than that.

And she's in the House of Representatives and got good committee seats!

We are in a time of insurrection and evil and we must--and the GOP MUST--do something about it.

Kick her out, for God's sake.

It's the least you can do, Republicans....


Friday, January 29, 2021

RIP Toys are Us

 The last two Toys are Us stores have closed.

I weep.

We got so many things for Josh and Mimi there.

On-line sales rule.

In person stores are at risk, all of them

Malls across America will be empty.

I weep.


Shitt$ Creek

Watching Netflix has been a big deal during the Pandemic.

Without movie theaters and live shows and restaurants to go to, people have been watching much, much more TV.

My favorite is Shitt$ Creek. 

The Levy family are involved in production and acting. The main actors are Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hare, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy--who play a family of rich Video owners who lose all their money and go to Shitt$ Creek to live in a motel.

The $ in the name is because the Rose family own the town, bought as a joke when they were rich.

There are a whole crew of supporting actors who are great!

Watch it if you get a chance--warning, you might get hooked like me....


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Very cold, very cold

 Tonight it's supposed to get in the single digits and I was just outside on our back porch and it was already 7 at 10 p.m.

I've been very itchy this winter. Dry skin, I assume.

My doctor gave me a RX for an itch medicine for a rash on my upper back and arms. I'm using other things over my body where there is no rash.

My friend, Vi, who is from Seattle, Washington, and is now in New Haven at Yale Divinity School, told me she really feels the cold. She said it only gets below freezing in Seattle a few day a year and the air is always moist.

The dry cold is the worst.

Makes me want to live in Seattle.

Lord help us through this winter and this pandemic.

(Isn't it calming to only be worried about the cold and the pandemic and not the President?)

link to my You Tube blog


I just noticed

"Noticed" is an interesting word.

It comes from Middle English and Middle French and ultimately from the Latin notita--which means "a knowing" or "a being known".

So to 'notice' to give 'knowing' to what was not yet 'known'.

Pretty neat.

Well, what I just noticed is that this week none of my posts have had anything 'political' in them--except one that mentions Q-anon needing to realize what is 'true' and 'real'.

We're only 8 days since Biden became our 46th President and for much of that time, I haven't been immersed in politics as I've been in the past 4 years.

"Normalcy" has its virtues.

It feels so 'normal' today.

I've missed 'normal' so much.

I look forward to more and more and more of 'normal'.

It will feel so...well, 'normal'. 

link to my You Tube blog



How wrong my parents were!

 My friend, Chuck, (he'd never let me call him that in person) looked on the "Urban Dictionary" and found that 'tickle box' was urban slang for a woman's vagina!

All I could think was that they were so 'rural' they didn't know where the slang came from or what it referred to.

It's helpful to use your parents mis-steps to examine your own.

You can never learn enough about what you got wrong.

I'd recommend that for all the Q-anon folks out there.

Learn about all you got wrong and try to think 'right' for a change.

link to my you tube blog

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Tickle box

Lordy, Lordy, my parents (God love their souls) taught me that my penis was my "tickle box". Where they got that, I'll never know.

I just remembered this tonight and I was reflecting on the most humiliated I've ever been. (You might try that--it turns up interesting stuff.)

I went on line to find nick-names for the penis. One site had 150.

None of them were 'tickle box'.

I was in 7th grade, out on the playground when someone cupped his genitals in his hand and let off a string of names for it.

Someone said, "Jimmy, what do you call your d*ck?"

I looked down and asked, "my tickle box?" 

I was the brunt of abuse for weeks after that. Boys called me 'tickle box boy' and girls, who had heard the news, laughed into their hands when I came by.

I'll try to look back and see what I told my children that came back to humiliate them.

I can't think of anything off the bat, but I'm sure there were some things.

Parents and children--it's just like that.

link to my youtube blog


I talk to Ollie

Ollie is what I call our plastic, life-sized owl on our deck. He's supposed to keep squirrels away, but doesn't. I've even seen squirrels sitting next to him on the banister! 

I don't know why I talk to him, but I do.

Maybe because I talk to so few people during the Covid pandemic.

He doesn't talk back--thank the Lord! That would mean I was really going bonkers....

Today he had snow on his head in the shape of a yamaka. I hadn't know he was Jewish.

He has a brother on a poll down in the back of our yard. I haven't named that one.

That one doesn't keep anything away either.

I don't know if that one is Jewish too.

But Ollie listens quietly when I talk to him, taking it all in but not responding.

What will I start talking to next? 

link to my youtube blog




Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Mejol didn't know

So, I still don't know how my parents met and I have no uncles or aunts to ask--all dead.

But we did talk about our grandmother, Lina Manona Jones, and her gun.

She ran a boarding house for a few years and had residents that couldn't be trusted. She carried a pistol in the pocket of her apron, and everyone knew it.

Once, when my Aunt Georgie couldn't get Grandma to come to the door of her trailer, she called my Dad to come and go in and see if Grandma was dead.

He knocked and knocked and opened the door with Aunt Georgie's key and called for Grandma all the way down the length of the trailer.

When he opened her bedroom door, she was sitting up with her gun aimed toward him.

No one died.

I mentioned in another post that my father had a pistol  under the counter of his bar and quit bar-tending when he had to point it at a drunk friend.

Mejol and I decided we were from 'pistol packin' people".

Not bad, though Mejol and I would never own a gun.

Not bad.

Link to my you tube blog


Monday, January 25, 2021

I just realized

I just realized today that I don't know how my parents met.

I should know that, shouldn't I?

But I don't.

He was a farm boy with an eighth grade education from Monroe County and she was a school teacher from McDowell County.

He did go to McDowell to work in the mines, so they must have met there--but I have no idea how.

He grew up on a turkey farm and was told from childhood that only stupid people in the city ate turkey. So when he was in a boarding house in the mine fields, he tasted turkey for the first time. He wouldn't believe it was turkey until the land-lady took him into the kitchen and showed him the carcass.

I know that but I don't know how he met my mother.

My mother grew up dirt poor. She wore rain boots to school one year because the family couldn't afford shoes for all 7 of their children (two of whom died in childhood).

Yet she and two of her sisters, Elsie and Georgie, all earned master's degrees (Elsie a doctorate) and taught school all their working lives. Elsie even taught in college for a few years.

I know all that but don't know how Virgil met Cleo.

I'll ask my cousin Mejol when I talk to her this week to see if she knows.

I'd love to know and don't know why I don't.  link to my video blog.


Friday, January 22, 2021

Why are women viewed differently?

 Besides Bernie Sanders (God love him) and his mittens, no one seemed to comment on any man's dressing at the Inauguration, lots of folks in the media and on line are obsessing about what Kamala and Michelle and Jill wore.

They wore what they wore, just as their husbands did.

But no press on the men.

Clothes are clothes.

All of us put them on every day and take them off every night.

Get over it America.

Clothes are just clothes.

I'm an Episcopalian

I've been emailing back and forth with my son, who is a member of the Episcopal Cathedral in Baltimore, about how hard it is to bear the name "Christian" when so many so-called "Christians" supported the former president, even up to and including the seditious attack on the U.S. Capitol on the Feast of the Epiphany.

Wise men, who were of other faiths, came that day to worship the toddler Jesus and give him gifts.

Not so wise men and women, on the celebration of that day, came to desecrate the symbol of our democracy and called themselves 'christian'.

We Episcopalians need to make clear that we are not 'christians' like the Evangelicals who supported Trump or the 'christians' who stormed the Capitol.

Obviously, not all those shouting 'hang Pence!' were there a 'christians', but some were.

It's hard to be called a Christian with no distinction about 'which' Christians we are.

I am an Anglican Christian who believes the vote was, as many in the past administration said, the most valid vote ever.

I am an Anglican Christians who supports democracy and the rule of law and equal treatment for all people and the end to voter suppression.

I am an Anglican Christian who wants racism stamped out, poverty defeated, and all people welcomed into this country--that welcomed all of us, except native Americans--when we came from different lands.

That's the Christianity I'm called to.

Not the 'christianity' that continues to support discrimination and sedition.

Here I stand.

Stand with me.



Wednesday, January 20, 2021

"One nation under God..."

 If it stopped there, we'd be in big trouble.

But it continues like this: "with liberty and justice for all."

No matter what you think, we are not a Christian nation.

We have Jews and Muslims and Sikhs and Buddhists and Hindus and agnostics and atheists.

And we all have "liberty and justice" in this country.

Get over it, Evangelicals, we are a people of many faiths.

We need to acknowledge that and move on.

Religion is one of the things that divides us.

We need to realize how diverse we are as a people and proclaim "liberty and justice for all" over and over.

I love living in a diverse country--and I believe, with all my soul, in 'liberty and justice' for all of us.


I've listened to NPR and watched CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News and the word I've heard most is this: "normal".

The ceremonies, the press conference, the speeches, the music, the comments.

And the word I heard most today is this: "normal".

Biden and Harris have brought back 'normal' to our land.

The best thing the former President did recently was not show up for any of it.

That, if nothing else, brought normalcy back.

I love 'normal'.

I love 'quiet'.

I love 'boring', even.

And it's all back, thank the good Lord.

"Normal" is what we all need, what we have longed for for years.

And it's back.

Take a deep breath and breathe out saying "normal".

Didn't that feel good?



Nothing calms you down like paying attention to your breathing. Long deep breaths held for a few moments and slowly exhaled. Breathing is a central part of most meditation techniques.

Today I can breathe....

I watched the Biden/Harris inauguration most of the morning.

Only two weeks since mobs of people stormed the Capitol to try to stop the count of the Electoral College votes and 'hang Mike Pence', the scene was much different on the steps of the Capitol.

And I can breathe again....

The whole world can. The nightmare of the last 4 years is over--we can have peaceful, restful sleep tonight. Climate change, the pandemic, immigration reform, racism and inequality  and many other ignored issues will be addressed very differently now.

So, breathe....Breathe....Breathe....


Monday, January 18, 2021

A sermon about Martin Luther King Jr.

(I preached this years ago--but, unfortunately, it still rings true.)

1/14/07—Cana and King



Listen to the Promise of God from today’s reading from the Prophet Isaiah: “You shall no more be termed FORSAKEN…but you shall be called MY DELIGHT IS IN HER…for the Lord delights in you….”


      “There’s a lack of something there.” That’s a saying I remember from my childhood. I don’t know if it’s a regionalism or just something people in my family would say—but I grew up hearing the term a lack.

      My grandmother would ask me to taste something she was cooking and say, “Jimmy, tell me if this has a lack of salt….”

      My uncle Del, the auto mechanic, would listen to a car motor that wasn’t running smoothly and say, “there’s a lack of something there.”

      My uncle Russell, who ran the grocery store, would look over the receipt from a delivery of meat or canned goods and say, ‘we’ve got a lack of two boxes of green beans.”

      A LACK is something missing, not there, needed, required. Having a lack meant something had to be done, corrections must be made, action must be taken.

      So at the wedding in Cana, a small town in the hills above Nazareth, Mary comes to Jesus and says to him, “Jesus, there’s a lack of wine. Do something about it.”


      And when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King looked around at the society he was living in, he recognized that there was a lack of ‘freedom’ and a lack of equality and a lack of justice. Dr. King realized someone had to DO SOMETHING to supply ‘what was lacking’—to provide freedom and justice and equality where there was a lack of it all.


      The thing I love about the story from John of Jesus’ first miracle is how terribly human Jesus’ initial reaction was to the lack of wine. Trying to recognize and define WHO JESUS WAS consumed the first four centuries of Christian history. That argument revolved around trying to determine how the balance the ‘human’ nature and the ‘divine’ nature of Jesus. There’s a fancy name for the conversation about the identity of Jesus—theologians call it “Christology”. And the struggle with “Christology” goes on even today. Was he God? Was he a human being? What is the nature of Jesus’ identity?

      More often than not, it seems to me, we tend to come down on the side of ‘divinity’ and short-change the ‘humanity’ of Jesus. But in today’s gospel story, Jesus’ human nature is writ large in capital letters.

      When Mary tells him there’s “a lack of wine”, he reacts in the way most every son sometimes reacts to his mother—with petulance and impatience.

      “Why are you bothering me about this, Mom?” he asks. “Can’t you just leave me alone with my friends?”

      Then, in my imagination, Mary gave Jesus one of those withering looks only a mother can give a son. Just that look—then she walks away.

      Jesus must have shrugged his oh-so-human shoulders and rolled his oh-so-human eyes, taken a deep breath and said, “O…K…., let’s make some wine….”


      The human side of Jesus shows itself clearly here. Because, like all of us human beings, when ‘a lack’ is pointed out, we want someone else to handle it. We don’t want to be bothered. It’s too much work and will take too much commitment and energy. And sometimes, trying to fill ‘a lack’ is dangerous.

      It was no different with Jesus. And it was certainly no different with Martin Luther King. Dr. King was a successful clergyman. He had a family to worry about. He had his own life to lead. So, when he realized there was ‘a lack’ of freedom and justice and equality, he initially resisted the work God had given him to do. He agonized over it, prayed that ‘the cup’ might pass him by, tried to avoid ‘getting involved’ and waited for someone else to act—to step into the breach, to be the ‘leader’, to take on the task of turning the water of injustice into the wine of freedom.

      And that is what I admire most about the life of Martin Luther King—that he was so terribly HUMAN—filled with all the anxiety and reluctance we are all filled with—and yet God would not leave him alone and he stepped into midst of a crusade for freedom that would cost him his life.

      It was this simple, this is how it happened. A woman named Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, where King was a pastor. It was like Rosa Parks said to Dr. King—just as Mary said to Jesus—‘there’s a lack here, Martin.’

      All the rest is history.

      However, any celebration of the courage and astonishing work of Dr. King must stop short of unbridled jubilation. The work he began is not over. The ‘lack’ he sought to meet is far from fulfilled.

      *African Americans still do not share equally in the freedom and wealth and abundance of our country.

      *neither do Hispanics and Latinos…

      *neither do women of whatever race or ethnicity….

      *neither do gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people….

      *neither do disabled Americans.

    *and many people and children...children go hungry each day.

      There are many in our midst who are still called “Forsaken”. There are many for whom freedom and equality and justice are still a ‘dream’. And that dream, the dream of Martin Luther King, can only be fulfilled through the courage and commitment of human beings.

      It is the humanity of Christ and the humanity of Dr. King that can inspire us to dream dreams and to give ourselves to make those dreams realities.

      Like Dr. King, I have a dream. I dream of the Promise of God for all people: “You shall no longer be termed Forsaken…but you shall be called My Delight Is In Her…for the Lord delights in you….”



I've discovered a treasure trove of videos on You Tube about McDowell County, West Virginia. I watched 7 or 8 of them before feeling tears I didn't know I was crying on my cheeks.

If you are from there, you say MACK-Dowell.

If you aren't, you say Mc-Dowell.

I grew up there decades ago. It was a very different place then than it is now.

When I was a child, the population of the far flung county was 100,000 or so and coal was king. My father and his brothers were among a few of the men who didn't work in the mines. My father did, before WW II, but after he served he didn't go back. Uncle Russell ran a grocery store and a dry goods store (that's what we called 'department stores' in Anawalt). Uncle Del owned an Esso station, before it became Exxon. Uncle Sid lived 30 miles away and was an insurance agent. My dad ran a bar after the war until he had to draw a gun on a friend who was drunk. Then he worked for Uncle Russell, then drove a dry cleaning truck, then was the only insurance agent in town.

Anawalt had a population of 500 or so, with about 40% black and two Italian families.

I just looked Anawalt up on Wikipedia and found out the 2019 estimated census was 179.

Which almost matches the county's drop from 100,000 when I was a kid to about 27,000 today.

Coal is no longer King. Mines that are still open, not many, have machines to do the work of 100 men.

The county of my birth and life until I went to college is a shadow of it's former self.

I have such joyous memories but if I went back to visit I would be devastated. 

I'll hang on to the memories and not go visit.




Sunday, January 17, 2021

I didn't go to church today

For the first time in who knows how long, I didn't go to church.

For months I've been going to zoom church every Sunday--and that's 'going to church'.

But I left my role an interim missioner to the Cluster of churches I've served for seven years--so no church for me today.

It was odd.

I'll watch the service on line tonight sometime, but it won't be 'going to church'.

Plus, I don't know when I'll go to church--zoom or in person again. No offers given and no 'supply' work during a pandemic.

We shall see.

I miss those three little congregations fiercely.


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Children's Sabbath



      Today’s lesson from Genesis tells the story of Jacob wrestling with an angel.  All through the night, Jacob holds on for dear life in his wrestling match. As dawn breaks, the angel damages Jacob’s hip, but still Jacob will not let go. He demands a blessing from his enemy and adversary, instead he gets a new name. Jacob becomes known from that day and forever as ISRAEL.

      And besides a new name, Jacob—now known as ISRAEL—will always walk with a limp.

      A new name—a new lease on life, a new identity, a new start—none of that comes cheap or easy.  To be born again requires a death. A new name brings with it a limp.

      When my children were very small—Josh was 6 or 7 and Mimi was 3 or 4—we would end many of our days with a wrestling match in our living room at 612 Chapel Street in New Haven. We lived in a huge house that had lots of room for wrestling and we took advantage of the space.  I would always be Andre the Giant and Josh and Mimi would be Spaghetti and Meatball. Josh was Spaghetti because he was long and lean and Mimi, who has grown into a beautiful woman, was Meatball because she was short and round as a child.  And we would wrestle for an hour or so, until I was gasping for breath and the children were worn out and ready for bed.  Often, because they were so energetic and I was so much bigger than them, one or the other of them would get hurt—they would get a limp. But they wouldn’t stop. The wrestling itself was worth the pain it inadvertently caused.


      One more story before I try to make some sense of all this. And the story is this—it is one of my earliest memories, perhaps my earliest memory.  My father and mother and I were out in the yard of my Uncle Russell’s house. My father was lying down in the grass with me when a stranger came running across the yard toward us. My father leaped up and ran toward him. The two men—my father and the stranger—grabbed each other and wrestled. I wasn’t yet two years old, but the image of the two men struggling terrified me. I started crying and my mother rushed to pick me up. But she was crying too, just like me, and my father and the stranger fell onto the ground, wrapped in mortal combat. I clung to my mother in great fear.

      It wasn’t combat at all, I was seeing. And my mother’s tears were tears of joy, not fear. The stranger who was wrestling with my father was my Uncle Del who had been away for a long time. And they weren’t wrestling at all—they were embracing, but the exuberance of their hug caused them to rock back and forth and then fall on the ground.

      Today is the Children’s Sabbath.  For years now, we at St. John’s have celebrated this Sunday of the year as the Children’s Sabbath.  And never before has observing a Sabbath for Children been so important, so vital, so necessary, so appropriate, so needed….

      The English word Sabbath  is derived from the Hebrew noun Shabbot and it means, literally, REST.  The Sabbath is the “day of rest.” It is the day reserved for God and God alone. Orthodox Jews refrain from any “work” at all on Shabbot—they do not drive cars or operate machinery or cook or even turn on light switches. The food for Shabbot must be cooked before sunset. The lights must be left on. The family must walk to the synagogue for the prayers. The day belongs to God and God alone.

      The Children’s Sabbath is meant to reflect that commitment to God.  This day must belong to the children and to God—to the children and God alone.

      There are a multitude of children we are called to remember this day. The children of our world are not responsible for the crises that surround us. Today we must find a pray that  all  children find REST from the weariness of the world.

      When thousands died on September 11 it left a multitude of children without a mother or father or both.  The  September 11 orphans need  rest from their mourning and loss—a time for God to heal them and open our hearts to them.

      There are tens of thousands of children living in poverty and war in Afghanistan.  Those children are not responsible for the decades of fighting or the numbing poverty of that land.  They need rest from their senseless suffering—a time for God to strengthen them and open our hearts to them.

      Hundreds of thousands of Muslim children living in the West—in our nation, in our community—are suffering ridicule and violence merely because of their ethnicity and faith. They need rest from their torment—a time for God to guard them and open our hearts to them.

      The events of the past 6 weeks haunt the dreams of millions of children in this country—their world has been invaded by violence they’ve not known before. They need rest from their fears—a time for God to comfort them and open our hearts to them.


      Our culture romanticizes childhood in a remarkable and dangerous way. We tend to think of the years of childhood as simple and carefree and happy. For the most part—and for most children—that is not true.  For the most part, CHILDHOOD IS A NIGHTMARE.  Children have no power, no control—children are innocent victims of a Grown Up World. 

      Children did not pilot airplanes into buildings.

      Children do not make war and cause poverty.

      Children do not abuse and neglect adults.

      The night terror of children is all our doing—the result of the actions and decisions of adults.

      CHILDHOOD IS A NIGHTMARE. That is why fairy tales speak so powerfully to children. In fairy tales there is a struggle between Good and Evil. In fairy tales, the weak and defenseless triumph over Monsters and Giants and Ogres.

      (You know, don’t you, who the Monsters and Giants and Ogres are?  They are the “big people”—the adults who have absolute control over children…the adults who create the terror of children’s nightmares.)

      Sabbath is a time for “rest”, a time that belongs to God alone—and to God’s precious children.

      This holy Shabbot—this holy Children’s Sabbath—speaks to the “big people”, to the Monsters and Giants and Ogres, to the ADULTS of the world. And this holy, sacred time that belongs to God and to children calls us to open our hearts to the children in our family, in our church, in our community, in our world.  They are OUR RESPONSIBILITY.  It is our “job”, our sacred duty to teach the children to ‘WRESTLE’. 

      Spaghetti and Meatball ALWAYS defeated the awesome Andre the Giant. Just like in Fairy Tales, Josh and Mimi ALWAYS won, against all odds.

      That is part of what we must teach our children—that God is on the side of the underdog, the weak, the powerless. And we must teach them that the Cross of Christ is the ultimate example of how POWERLESSNESS wins out in the end.

      We must teach our children that wrestling with God will give us both “new name” and a limp. That life is confusing and painful, but that God is finally on our side and that God will not only guard us from harm, God will give us new life.

      And we must teach our children that what sometimes looks like conflict and wrestling might just be a dance of joy. We must teach our children that true maturity is being able to live with ambiguity and confusion.


      This is the Children’s Sabbath. Today belongs to God and the Children alone.  And EVERY DAY must be the Sabbath of the Children. They are our only True Gift to the Future. We must wrestle with them and dance with them and hold them ever close.  As if our very lives depended on it.  Because our very lives DO depend on that.  Our lives truly depend on wrestling with and dancing with and holding our children close.

      That MATTERS MOST. And it may be all that matters.


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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.