Category Archives: Christianity

“Why do we call it “FAST” when it makes the day so slow?”

I like words. And I have an unfortunate taste for stupid jokes, particularly when they turn on double meanings of words. Or homophones.

As such, this has been my response when someone brings up the idea of fasting as a spiritual discipline.

I actually did this decades ago, 1 day every week, and a longer 3 day once a month. Liquids only, but a little V8 juice seemed a good thing. Did that for a year or so when I was in school.

But whatever the virtues there might be, or the lack, it certainly gave me inspiriation for one of my worst word jokes.
But then 2 weeks ago, I pulled it out for a friend at Church (All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Stafford, TX), and he actually took the “why…” as a real question, which had a real answer. And was therefore worth finding out. I admire that. Over 40 years, and I had never done that. I suppose I was afraid it would ruin the joke, as if that were possible.

What he found was the relationship in proto-German to a similar word meaning remain still. I tried to morph it into a more modern “Make fast” as in “Fasten,” but my friend insisted that although that was partial, it was not primary. The earliest would be simply to REMAIN still.
And this opened up something for me, that relates to a previous post about this time of waiting between Ascension, and Pentecost. I called it a gap, with seeming abandonment.

This meaning of “fast” differed from mine in that to “hold fast” seems to refer to a state or condition. Static. To “remain fast” seems more like  a point in a process – like the pause before turning left across a busy street, or a right turn on red. The quite spot between movements of a symphony, the dramatic pause a speaker might use.

Or the Seventh day of Creation – when God “rested” (I wonder about the Hebrew – how the word “fast” might fit there?)

And also this time of waiting, wondering what is coming next. 

Anticipation, Nervous , perhaps even fearful (with or without cause).

But Something is about to start. A change is in the wind.

We are standing fast. 

 

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On Ascension and Abandonment. Gaps

You would think that after 40 years as an Episcopalian, I would pretty much have this “Liturgical Calendar” thing, the “Church Year” down. But after spending my first formative years as a Southern Baptist, I can still find a surprise or two.

As they say, even a blind squirrel finds SOME acorns.

Today, 25 May 2017 is the Feast of the Ascension. Continue reading

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On Baking Bread, Communion, the Holy and Profane

Bread making this morning.

In the deep past, I did this once or twice a month at home, and really enjoyed it. This time, it is for Communion Bread for a special event, which fills me with thoughts. Apparently, I would rather THINK about my work than actually do it. Continue reading

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Some Personal Thoughts on Suffering: 1

A friend of mine once asked for some Bible passages for a friend who was going through some rather serious difficulties. The following is taken from my response.

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Thoughts on Going Back to Church

OK. I’ve been wanting to write this, and ducking it all morning, probably for days. Perhaps longer.

“Start with the truth as it is, Eric, and only then into commentary, and on to thoughts about that truth, or what you wish to do with it. Start by what is”

Seems like sound advice. The sort of thing I might say. Continue reading

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Sunlight, Compost, and a Reasonable Faith

Time I write at least a little about depression. Not much; the very subject is, well, depressing.

But there have been a few bright spots in it. Occasionally, I still see one.
Those who know me well probably know that I have struggled with a low-grade chronic depression for as long as I can remember. There have been some seasons of relief, and a couple that bordered on suicidal. But as a whole, if the average “emotional temperature” bubbles along at 98.6, I average closer to 90. Sometimes it’s lower, but it is decidedly above room temperature. And I am happy about that…
… at least most of the time. Continue reading

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“Paradise Lost” (but trying to understand the map)

“Bid welcome your new landlord – whose mind will not be changed by tome or place.
The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, or hell of heaven. What does it matter where I am? What matters is that I am and shall remain…”

 

Here at least we shall be free. Here we are beyond his almighty envy; he will not drive us out from here. Here our reign is secure. And what we won is worth it, in my view, even if our kingdom be in hell.
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”

“Paradise Lost”, book 1, lines c254 – c264
Prose edition by Dennis Danielson

__________________

I don’t read nearly as much or as well as I once did. But I am working on tying up a few loose ends, one of which is that I never read Milton’s “Paradise Lost”

I know many of my friends do not have this failure on their record. I specifically would value your point of view on the thoughts below. Continue reading

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