Category Archives: Theology

“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 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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“He descended into hell…”

This is a post I wrote a few years back. But Today, Holy Saturday, I think these ideas are worth wrestling with. Not so much for my ideas, but the thing itself is worth wrestling with. I welcome your own thoughts. May we, like Jacob, not let go until we have been blessed!

When I was young, we didn’t think much of the days before Easter other than the crucifixion itself, the whole period between the betrayal of Jesus and the Resurrection was pretty much ignored.
There is even a name for these days, “The Triduum.” Who knew?

There is much to think about, and today, Holy Saturday, the “Great Silence” is a good day for pondering.

I had been pondering a part of the creed little used in the branch of the Church I grew up in: “He descended into hell” particularly in connection with Jesus’ words from the cross “it is finished” and “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

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A Story of Two Groups of “Wise Men”

Well, I’m going to go WAAAY out of character for me, and out on a church calendar limb. Tomorrow is Sunday, 5 January, 2014, the last Sunday in Christmas this year. So I am going to race ahead and post about Epiphany. “Sin Boldly”; to half-quote Martin Luther.

So why jump ahead two days as if I were impatient for them to be gone? Well, perhaps I am in mid-revelation, and revelation is sort of what the word “epiphany” means. Or perhaps I am receiving my Christmas gift, which also marks it as OK as a Christmas post (now I feel better!). I understand that in many places in the world, in many parts of the Church, Gifts are not exchanged on Christmas, in remembrance of the Gift of the Incarnation, but on Twelfth-Night, Epiphany (“…my true love gave to me, …”) in remembrance of the gifts of the Magi, given TO the incarnate Son of the most High. I sort of like that, in that it puts the focus a little more where I think it belongs, on me giving to God as I seek to serve Him in all people, in recognition of my baptismal vow.

Well, rambling over, on with the point. In Matthew’s account of the Gospel, Chapter 2, he says of the “wise men” (or Magi): Continue reading

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Karma and Exodus (borrowed from The Pews of Hope)

I edit another blog, partly written by me, but intended as a vehicle for expression and conversation for the laypeople of my church, Hope Episcopal Church (Houston).  It is called “The Pews of Hope” http://thepewsofhope.wordpress.com/ 
 
I wrote the following piece last May, in reaction to an incident in our Sunday eve Bible study, which I did not think we handled particularly well

That site doesn’t get a lot of traffic yet, and thus not a lot of comments. I would particularly welcome some other thoughts, so I thought I would place it over here as well.
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Last Sunday afternoon, May 26, our Bible Study group was reading in Exodus. We read the Ten Commandments, and we continued with laws relating to a variety of subjects, most of which our legal system would call tort law – or how to deal “with what is fair?” when one person has, intentionally or accidentally, caused harm to another. Continue reading

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Guest post -no words of mine need be added

Guest post today –

Back in the mid-late 1970’s I shared a house in Houston with a man called George O’Malley. George was the second-best roommate I ever had; I moved out only to get married, and nobody disputes the honest fact that George was the Best Man at that wedding.

Paul Simon wrote a song I like that goes “Some folks’ lives roll easy…” That hasn’t always been George. But in the midst of the tosses and turns of this life, George has maintained the central goodness of his heart. Today he posted something that I thought not only showed something of George, but also pointed for the rest of us the way forward. I argue theology. George simply does it. His is the more excellent way. Continue reading

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“’I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have…’”

Today, I am going to offer a guest post – a daily devotional from the Rev. Reid Morgan, Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in La Porte, Texas.

It is on a subject I feel considerable conviction and leading about, learning from my betters on the subject; particularly my former wife, Stephanie, for whom this point lies very close to the center of the way Jesus interacted with people in the time of His incarnation. She is very, very good at following His example.
I offer Fr. Reid’s essay without further comment, except for my gratitude.
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